On Sunday, long time Red Sox and NESN broadcaster Tim Wakefield passed away from a brain tumor. His death came as a shock to many at only 57 years old. In typical Tim Wakefield fashion, he kept his battle with cancer quiet, with the public only finding out about the diagnosis a few days before his passing. After the news spread a tsunami of kind words flooded social media in Tim’s honor. From stories about his generosity and kindness, to just people saying thank you for the joy he passed along to others both as a player and person.
Tim Wakefield will always be a Red Sock. He was never the flashiest or the most dominant, but he was effective at what he was asked to do. Whether it was as a starter, out of the bullpen, or just trying to cheer on his teammates, Tim was always there and willing to do whatever it takes to help get the job done. He ended up playing 19 big league seasons, staring off as a Pirate where he was originally drafted as a first basemen. After he learned to throw the knuckleball, he was converted to a pitcher and never looked back. In 1995 he signed with the Red Sox, and he would spend his final 17 season in Boston. Tim would become the longest tenured Red Sox player in team history. When he retired after the 2011 season at age 45, he was the oldest active player in baseball at the time and was the oldest player in Red Sox history to play in a game. He also holds the franchise record for most inning pitched (3,006) and is third all-time in wins for the franchise (186) behind the legendary Cy Young and Rodger Clemens. Tim would finish his career with exactly 200 wins, 2,156 strikeouts, was a two-time World Series Champion (including being the game 1 starter in 2004), an all-star in 2009, winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010, and a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Seemingly no one has ever had a bad thing to say about Tim Wakefield. In his 19 years on the field and his 10+ years as an analyst Tim has never spoken badly about anyone or been involved in any controversy. After his passing a million stories were shared online about the person Tim was, and how generous he could be. From just being a supportive friend, to his charity work. It was like everyone has an example of how charitable he was. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising as Tim was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award almost every season. He was also heavily involved in local fundraisers and charity organizations like New England’s Pitching in for Kids organization and was named the honorary chairman for the Red Sox foundation. Tim also was involved in the Jimmy Fund telethon every year, which is all the sadder given his diagnosis. Tim will be dearly missed by everyone in the community. As a Red Sock, an analyst, and a person he always gave his best and pushed others to give their best as well.
Sympathies to his family, friends and especially his wife who is battling cancer herself. Rest easy #49.