25 Greatest Red Sox Ever: #23 – Tim Wakefield

An ongoing series ranking the top 25 Red Sox of all time.

(Author’s note: This is a completely subjective list. It’s based mostly on my own opinion, although I did use multiple reference sources for research when compiling these rankings. Factors considered were not only stats, but also what each player meant to the organization and the city of Boston. Also, being only 29-years old myself, I didn’t get the opportunity to see many of the all-time greats myself, so there will inevitably be a little bit of a recency bias, but I made a conscious effort to be as fair as I could to the old-timers. Only time spent in Boston was considered.)

Tim Wakefield comes in at #23 on the list of the all-time greatest Red Sox, and deservedly so. Wakefield spent 17 (1995-2011) of his 19 MLB seasons in Boston, and he ranks at or towards the top of many Red Sox statistical pitching categories.

Although Wakefield’s 4.43 career ERA with the Sox is nothing to gasp at, his 590 games played and 2,046 K’s both rank 2nd in Red Sox history, and his 186 wins ranks 3rd behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens. He’s also the Red Sox career leader in starts and innings pitched with 430 and 3,006, respectively, and he carries a very respectable career 6.1 K/9 rate and a 32.6 career WAR.

A two-time World Series champion in Boston, Wakefield’s lasting memory could have been disastrous after allowing that home run to Aaron Boone in the 11th inning of game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, but he cemented his legacy in Boston with a much brighter performance in the 2004 ALCS, throwing 6.1 scoreless innings in relief during the greatest comeback in sports history.

(Long time teammates Wakefield and Jason Varitek share a moment after Wakefield’s 200th win. Photo credit: Boston Herald)

Aside from, and perhaps more importantly than, his on-field successes are his off-field endeavors. Always the consummate humanitarian, Wakefield participates in and volunteers with countless charitable organizations, many of them in the greater Boston area.

The 8-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee (he won it in 2010), Wakefield has also partnered with Boston’s Franciscan Children’s Hospital to coordinate trips to Fenway Park for sick children, he’s active with New England’s Pitching in for Kids group, and he was named the honorary chairman of the Boston Red Sox in 2013, tasked with supporting and organizing fundraising and community service throughout New England, among many other ventures.

Tim remains an active part of the organization’s family as a TV host and personality on NESN’s game day coverage of the Red Sox.

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