One of the mainstays of the Boston Red Sox team that won multiple World Series in the first decade of the 21st century has died. Tim Wakefield, known for both his beguiling knuckleball and his humanitarian work, died at the age of 57 following a brain cancer diagnosis. Last month, the news that Wakefield had sought treatment for his cancer became publicly known.
The Red Sox, the team Wakefield played for the bulk of his MLB career, posted a remembrance of the retired pitcher on social media. “Our hearts are broken with the loss of Tim Wakefield,” the team said. “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.”
As ESPN noted, Wakefield holds several Red Sox records, including number of starts and innings pitched. He ranks high on the Red Sox’s list of all-time wins and strikeouts; he was also an All-Star in 2009. His career was also notable for its longevity — he played until he was 45, and spent 17 seasons total in Boston. His knuckleball helped to establish him as a singular pitcher; it also provided the title of his memoir, Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch.
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Wakefield’s work for charity also represented a significant part of his life, which led to him being honored with MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award in 2010. The year after his 2012 retirement, his longtime team named him Honorary Chairman of the Boston Red Sox Foundation.
Wakefield was honored by several institutions, including inductions into both the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame and the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame. Of his 2012 induction into the latter, he said at the time, “Of all of the awards I have been given, this one means the most to me.”