BOSTON, MA-Tim Wakefield, whose knuckleball flummoxed Red Sox opponents for 17 years and who helped the club win World Championships in 2004 and 2007, returned to the organization today as Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and as a Special Assignment Instructor in the club's baseball operations.
Wakefield, who announced his retirement from baseball in February 2012, was among the most devoted Red Sox ever in community service. Major League Baseball awarded the Roberto Clemente Award, its highest honor in that area, to him in 2010. In that same year, the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) named a Red Sox community service award in his honor. The award is given annually to a player or individual who best exemplifies Wakefield's charitable spirit.
With the foundation, Wakefield will bring his vast experience to a variety of areas, including fundraising events, community service days, and the personal visits that characterized his community commitment throughout his career.
On the field, Wakefield will handle specific instructional assignments for General Manager Ben Cherington and his staff.
The Melbourne, Florida native first engaged in community service while in the minor leagues. Learning that a center in his hometown that helped children with special needs was down to its last dollars, the right-hander promised that if he ever became in a position to help, he would. As a major leaguer, he honored his promise, and helped the Space Coast Early Intervention Center reach new heights in educational care.
With the Red Sox, he helped thousands of children through his Wakefield's Warriors program with the Franciscan Children's Hospital and the Jimmy Fund. He was among the best ever in meeting children and families with special circumstances.
He pitched 19 seasons in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1992-1993) and the Red Sox (1995-2011).
With the Red Sox, Wakefield amassed 430 starts and 3,006.0 innings, both all-time records for a Red Sox pitcher, and Boston reached postseason play nine times.
His 17-year tenure with the Red Sox is better than the next-longest for a pitcher by four years. Only Carl Yastrzemski (23 seasons), Dwight Evans (19), and Ted Williams (19) have played more seasons with Boston.
Signed by Boston as a minor league free agent on April 26, 1995, Wakefield went on to win Red Sox Pitcher of the Year honors from the BBWAA in both 1995 and 2005.
An All-Star in 2008, he ranks second in franchise history with 590 pitching appearances and 2,046 strikeouts, behind Bob Stanley (637 appearances) and Roger Clemens (2,590 strikeouts). He is third in club history with 186 wins, trailing Clemens and Cy Young (192 each).
A versatile member of Boston's pitching staff, he is the only hurler ever to make 200 starts and 150 relief appearances for the club. He took over closing duties for the Red Sox in 1999 when Tom Gordon was injured and accumulated 22 saves in his career.
In his 19 major league seasons, the right-hander compiled a 200-180 record with a 4.41 ERA (1,582 ER/3,226.1 IP) and 2,156 strikeouts in 627 career outings, including 463 starts.
In his career, Wakefield pitched in 18 postseason games, including 11 starts, and ranks among Red Sox postseason leaders in starts (T-2nd, 9), strikeouts (3rd, 47), innings (4th, 54.0) wins (T-5th, 3) and games (6th, 16). Each of his three postseason victories with Boston came against the Yankees.
Originally selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 1988 June Draft as a shortstop, he switched to pitching the next year and reached the majors with the Pirates in 1992 and was the Pirates' Opening Day starter the next April.