We don’t have a sports section (yet) at The Rock, but many of us are diehard sports fans. I’m sure all sports fans get attached to their players, but Boston sports fans are a unique breed. So even after a lengthy career, I can’t help but feel sad that Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has called it a career.
Tim Wakefield has been with the Red Sox since 1995. His rotation mates included Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux’s older brother Mike to put things in perspective. Jose Canseco and Mo Vaughn provided the power long before Papi and Manny entered the picture; nine full years before the curse was lifted.
Wake and Jason Varitek, who is also likely to retire, are the only two holdovers from the 90s. Compared to the past decade or so, the 90s looked like a huge failure but there were a number of memorable players who will live on in Red Sox lore. With Tek and Wake gone, Big Papi is all that remains from the 2004 World Series team.
Before the 04 team, there were 86 years of Red Sox legends who didn’t have a championship to call their own. Wakefield and Varitek are in many ways, the first in a new era of Red Sox legends. The first storied characters that won it all.
I don’t mean to suggest that Wake and Tek should be held in higher regard than the likes of Ted Williams or Carlton Fisk. But I do think that both of their numbers should stand alongside them in the retired category. I don’t doubt that Varitek will have his number retired, but Wakefield shouldn’t be deprived of that honor.
Wakefield is one of the most selfless players that the Red Sox have ever employed, both on the field and off. He might have fallen short of his goal to become the all time team leader in wins, but people forget those years he volunteered to go to the bullpen and essentially let his stock rot away as a setup man. Had he been a starter for even one of those years, he would have that record. But that wasn’t his character. He did what the team needed him to do.
Tek and Wake have stuck around way past their prime years (though Timmy was an All Star just two years ago), but we all know that’s not what they’re going to be remembered for. They’ll be remembered for bringing two championships and a whole lot of hope to their team.