Timothy Stephen (Tim) Wakefield (born August 2, 1966 in Melbourne, Florida) is a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who has played with the Boston Red Sox since 1995. He throws a specialty pitch, the knuckleball.
Wakefield began his minor league career as a corner infielder. He played this position until a scout told him that he would never get above AA ball with his skills. Wakefield then began experimenting with various other positions and developed the knuckleball that has made him so well known.
He started his major league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, and signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox in 1995. He won 16 games in his first year with the Red Sox and helped them win a division title. His longevity and consistency have helped him quietly become one of the top pitchers in Red Sox history. Wakefield is currently the longest-serving member of the Boston team.
In the 2003 ALCS, Wakefield was one of the most formidable pitchers against the Yankees, allowing only three runs in 13 innings. He started Games 1 and 4 of the series, with the Red Sox winning both. He was also called in to pitch in extra innings of Game 7, after the Yankees tied the game (the Red Sox had been leading 5-2 in the eighth). After retiring the side in order in the 10th, Wakefield gave up a home run to Aaron Boone on his first pitch of the 11th inning, sending the Yankees to the World Series. Wakefield apologized to fans after the game.
In 2004, Wakefield helped the Red Sox exact revenge by winning the ALCS against the Yankees, a best-of-seven series to advance to the World Series. He pitched Game 1 of the Series but did not get a decision as Boston defeated the Cardinals, 11-9, after a two-run home run from Mark Bellhorn in the eighth inning.
- Wakefield is one of ten Red Sox pitchers with 100 or more wins (130), ranking third behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens (tied with 192). The others are Mel Parnell (123), Luis Tiant (122), Pedro Martinez (117), Smokey Joe Wood (116), Bob Stanley (115), Joe Dobson (106) and Lefty Grove (105).
- He has been on the Red Sox longer than any of his current teammates.
- His personal catcher is Doug Mirabelli. Mirabelli uses a league-approved mitt similar to a softball catcher's mitt when he catches Wakefield.
- On August 8, 2004, Wakefield gave up six home runs to the Detroit Tigers, becoming the first pitcher to do so since 1947. The Red Sox still managed to win the game, though, 11-9, and he got the win.
- On September 11, 2005, he set his career high in strikeouts (12) in a 1-0 complete game loss to the New York Yankees.
- He is one of just a few pitchers in history to strike out four batters in one inning. This is possible because a passed ball on a swinging strike counts as a strikeout, but the batter is allowed to run to first base in the event that the catcher cannot come up with the ball. Because the fluttering knuckleball produces many passed balls, several knuckleballers share this honor with Wakefield.
- His fastball tops out well under 80 mph.