Tim Wakefield is one of the great stories in the history of baseball. Not since the days of Carl Yastrzemski and Dwight Evans has a player spent 17 years in a Red Sox uniform. He experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in his career, but he always sacrificed his own interests for the good of the team.
After being drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman in 1988, he was told he would never play beyond the AA level. He developed a knuckleball at the age of 26 and was called up from AAA Buffalo at the end of the 1992 season. In 13 starts that year, he went 8-1 with a 2.15 ERA. He defeated Hall of Famer Tom Glavine twice in the 1992 NLCS with two complete games, and probably would have won the series MVP had Barry Bonds been properly positioned in left field, where he could have thrown out Sid Bream in Game 7.
Nonetheless, things went downhill for Wakefield from there, as he spent most of 1993 and 1994 in the minors and was released in April 1995.
With no takers on the horizon, Wakefield got the call from bargain hunter and Red Sox GM Dan Duquette. What a bargain it turned out to be. Seventeen seasons, 186 wins, more than 3,000 innings pitched and more than 2000 strikeouts. He trails only Roger Clemens, and Cy Young in victories as a Red Sox. He was used a middle reliever, starter and a closer throughout his career and excelled at all of them.
Wakefield did what was best for those around him, on and off the field. Here are some the most memorable moments of a remarkable career.