Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, renowned for his mastery of the knuckleball and pivotal role in the team’s two World Series victories, passed away at the age of 57. The Red Sox organization announced his death on Sunday, refraining from immediately disclosing the cause. However, it was revealed that Wakefield had been undergoing treatment following a recent diagnosis of brain cancer.
Wakefield’s teammate, Curt Schilling, had disclosed the diagnosis without permission the previous week, prompting the Red Sox to issue a statement with the consent of Wakefield and his wife, Stacy, urging respect for their privacy during this challenging time.
Our hearts are broken with the loss of Tim Wakefield.
Wake embodied true goodness; a devoted husband, father, and teammate, beloved broadcaster, and the ultimate community leader. He gave so much to the game and all of Red Sox Nation.
Our deepest love and thoughts are with… pic.twitter.com/ah5kV2Yt8j
— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 1, 2023
Born on August 2, 1966, in Melbourne, Florida, Wakefield debuted in Major League Baseball in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Originally drafted as a first baseman, his career trajectory changed when a coach observed him throwing a knuckleball during a casual catch. This unique pitching style quickly gained attention, leading to notable achievements, including a victory in the National League Championship Series.
The Boston Red Sox acquired Wakefield in 1995, where he spent the remainder of his illustrious 17-season career. He played a pivotal role in securing the team’s 2004 World Series championship, breaking an 86-year title drought, and contributed to another victory in 2007 against the New York Yankees.
Retiring in 2012, Wakefield concluded his career with 200 major league victories, 186 of which were with the Red Sox. He finished with a 4.41 ERA, 2,156 strikeouts, and 1,205 walks in over 3,200 innings pitched across 627 appearances.
Post-retirement, Wakefield became a NESN analyst for Red Sox broadcasts and remained active in Boston charities, including the Red Sox Foundation. In 2016, he was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner both expressed deep sorrow at Wakefield’s passing, highlighting his legendary kindness, indomitable spirit, and significant contributions on and off the field. Survived by his wife Stacy and their children Trevor and Brianna, Wakefield leaves behind a lasting legacy as a remarkable athlete and an extraordinary human being.