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Ex-Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield dies at 57

Tim Wakefield, whose famed knuckleball helped propel the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, has died at 57, the team announced Sunday. File Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Tim Wakefield, who possessed one of the best knuckleball pitches in baseball's modern era and helped the Boston Red Sox win two World Series titles, has died, the team announced Sunday. He was 57.

"Our hearts are broken with the loss of Tim Wakefield," the team said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"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."

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said all of the baseball world is "deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Wakefield, one of the most unique pitchers of his generation and a key part of the most successful era in the history of the Boston Red Sox."

In a statement, Manfred cited Wakefield's famed knuckleball in his emergence as a top-flight MLB pitcher beginning with his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992 and then during his 17-year tenure in Boston, "where he made a mark that will be remembered forever.

Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox poses with the Roberto Clemente Award after being named the 2010 recipient prior to Game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco on October 28, 2010. Wakefield has died at age 57, the Red Sox said Sunday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox poses with the Roberto Clemente Award after being named the 2010 recipient prior to Game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco on October 28, 2010. Wakefield has died at age 57, the Red Sox said Sunday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

"Tim was more than just a versatile and reliable All-Star pitcher, a highly respected teammate, and a two-time World Series Champion," the commissioner noted.

Wakefield was named the Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2010 for his community service work in New England.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry echoed the praise for Wakefield, stating, "He not only captivated us on the field but was the rare athlete whose legacy extended beyond the record books to the countless lives he touched with his warmth and genuine spirit."

Reports that Wakefield was battling brain cancer surfaced only this week, indicting he had recently undergone surgery to fight the aggressive disease.

On the field, he was a core member of two World Series championship teams in Boston. He notched 186 of his career 200 victories for the Red Sox, placing him behind only behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens, each of whom had 192 wins for Boston.

Wakefield is survived by his wife Stacy, son Trevor and daughter Brianna.