Tim Wakefield

Timothy Stephen Wakefield (born August 2, 1966) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Wakefield began his pitching career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but is most remembered for his 17-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox, starting in 1995 and ending with his retirement in 2012 as the longest-serving player on the team.[1] Wakefield, at the time of his retirement, was the oldest active player in the majors.

Known for his signature knuckleball, Wakefield won his 200th career game on September 13, 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays, and is third on the Boston Red Sox with 186 team victories, behind both Cy Young and Roger Clemens. He is second in all-time wins at Fenway Park with 97, behind Roger Clemens' 100, and is first all-time in innings pitched by a Red Sox pitcher, with 3,006, having surpassed Roger Clemens' total of 2,777 on June 8, 2010.[2][3]

Wakefield was nominated eight times for the Roberto Clemente Award, winning the award in 2010.[4]

Tim Wakefield
Tim Wakefield Pitching
Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox in 2006
Pitcher
Born: August 2, 1966 (age 52)
Melbourne, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 31, 1992, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 2011, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record200–180
Earned run average4.41
Strikeouts2,156
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Wakefield was born in Melbourne, Florida on August 2, 1966. He attended Eau Gallie High School and then attended Florida Tech. At Florida Tech, he was named the Panthers team MVP as a first baseman in his sophomore and junior years. He set single-season records with 22 home runs, as well as the career home run record at 40. In 2006, his number 3 was retired by the college.[5]

Professional career

Pittsburgh Pirates

Wakefield was drafted as a second baseman in 1988 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a scout told him that he would never get above Double-A ball as a position player with his skills, Wakefield began developing the knuckleball that has made him so well known, at the time stating "I just want to be able to say I tried everything I could to make it".[6]

The following season, Wakefield made his professional pitching debut while playing for the Single-A Salem Buccaneers. His immediate success led to a full conversion to pitcher in 1990, and he led the Carolina League in starts and innings pitched. Wakefield advanced to Double-A in 1991 and continued to improve, leading all Pirates minor leaguers in wins, innings pitched, and complete games when he went 15–8 with a 2.90 ERA.[6]

1992–1994

In 1992, Wakefield began the season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the American Association. He registered a league-high 6 complete games by July 31—winning 10 games with a 3.06 ERA—and was called up to the majors. In his major league debut, Wakefield threw a complete game against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out 10 batters while throwing 146 pitches.[7]

Down the stretch, Wakefield provided a boost for the playoff-bound Pirates, starting 13 games and compiling an 8–1 record with a 2.15 ERA, a performance that won him the National League Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award from The Sporting News. After winning the National League East division, the Pirates faced the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Wakefield won both of his starts against Braves star Tom Glavine, throwing a complete game 5-hitter in Game Three of the NLCS and another complete game in Game Six on three days' rest. With the Pirates leading the Braves in Game Seven, Wakefield was poised to be named NLCS MVP until the Braves rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth off Stan Belinda.[8]

During the first month of the 1993 season, Wakefield walked nine batters twice and ten in another start. After losing his spot in the starting rotation, Wakefield was sent down to Double-A. He was recalled in September and struggled again, but finished the season with two straight shutouts.

Wakefield spent most of 1994 with Triple-A Buffalo. He led the league in losses, walks, and home runs allowed. Wakefield was recalled to the Pirates in September but he did not play due to the players strike.[9] The Pirates released Wakefield on April 20, 1995.[10]

Boston Red Sox

Six days after being released from the Pirates, Wakefield was signed by the Boston Red Sox.[1] He worked with Phil and Joe Niekro, two former knuckleballers, who encouraged him to use the knuckleball as an out pitch. In Triple A Pawtucket, Wakefield went 2–1 with a 2.53 ERA.

1995–1998

Wakefield Throws a Knuckleball
Wakefield throwing a knuckleball

With the Boston Red Sox rotation struggling from injuries to top of the rotation starters Roger Clemens and Aaron Sele early in the 1995 season, Wakefield was called up from Triple A, and soon proved to be their most dependable starter.[11] He began the season with a 1.65 ERA and a 14–1 record through 17 games, 6 of which were complete games. He ended the year 16–8 with a 2.95 ERA, helping the Red Sox win the American League East division title, and capturing the Sporting News American League Comeback Player of the Year. He finished third in the AL Cy Young Award balloting.

Over the next three seasons (1996–1998), Wakefield won 45 games and had ERAs of 5.14, 4.25 and 4.58 over the three seasons as a starter. In 1997, he led Major League Baseball by hitting 16 batters with a pitch. He would repeat this feat in 2001 plunking a career-high 18 batters.

1999–2002

In 1999, Boston's closer Tom Gordon was injured and manager Jimy Williams installed Wakefield as the new closer during the middle part of the season. On August 10, 1999, he joined a select group of pitchers who have struck out four batters in one inning. Because the fluttering knuckleball produces many passed balls, several knuckleballers share this honor with him. He recorded fifteen saves before Derek Lowe emerged as the new closer and Wakefield returned to the starting rotation.

Because of his success out of the bullpen, Wakefield was regularly moved from the position of relief pitcher to starter and back again over the next three seasons (2000–2002). After being moved back into the rotation in late July 2002, Wakefield became a permanent regular starter.

2003–2008

In the 2003 ALCS, Wakefield allowed four runs over 14 innings against the New York Yankees. He started Games One and Four of the Series against Mike Mussina and won both starts. He was also called in to pitch in extra innings of Game Seven, after the Yankees tied the game. The Red Sox had been leading 5–2 in the eighth inning. 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, sending the Yankees to the World Series. Wakefield apologized to fans after the game.

Tim Wakefield and the 2004 World Series trophy
Wakefield (right) holding the 2004 World Series Trophy

In 2004, Wakefield helped the Red Sox win the ALCS against the Yankees, a best-of-seven series to advance to the World Series. The Red Sox lost the first two games of the ALCS and were losing badly in Game Three when Wakefield asked to be put into the game to save the other pitchers for the next day. He pitched 3⅓ innings which prevented him from starting Game Four.[12] Derek Lowe started Game Four in his place which the Red Sox ultimately won. In Game Five, Wakefield again pitched out of the bullpen and was the winning pitcher in a 14-inning game, throwing three shutout innings as the Red Sox won 5–4. The Red Sox beat the Yankees and went on to the World Series. He pitched Game One of the 2004 World Series but did not get a decision as Boston defeated the Cardinals, 11–9, which was the highest-scoring Game One in World Series history. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals for their first World Series title in 86 years.

On April 19, 2005, Wakefield agreed to a $4 million, one-year "rolling" contract extension that gave the Red Sox the ability to keep Wakefield for the rest of his career.[13] In the 2005 season, Wakefield led the Red Sox pitching staff with 16 wins and a 4.15 ERA. On September 11, 2005, he set a career high in strikeouts (12) in a 1–0 complete game loss to the New York Yankees.[14]

In 2007, he finished the season with a 17–12 record but was left off the Red Sox roster for the World Series due to an injured shoulder that had been bothering him since late September.[15]

The 12 passed balls while he was pitching topped the majors in 2008.[16]

2009

Wakefield entered his fifteenth season with the Boston Red Sox in 2009.[17] On April 15, 2009, a day after the Red Sox bullpen was tasked with pitching over 11 innings of relief, Wakefield told Terry Francona: "I understand the circumstances and I just wanted you to know: Whatever happens, don't take me out; let me keep going." He went on to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and earned a complete-game win.[18] At 42, this made him the oldest Red Sox pitcher to pitch a complete game, a record he would break himself in his next start when he pitched a second consecutive complete game win, this time in a seven-inning, rain-shortened game.[19]

Wakefield led the team with a 10–3 record through June 27.[20] With his start on July 3, 2009, Wakefield surpassed Roger Clemens for the most starts in franchise history.[21] His success on the mound had him atop the major leagues with 10 wins at the time of the 2009 All Star selection. On July 5, 2009, he was announced as an AL All-Star, making him the second-oldest first-time All-Star at 42, behind only Satchel Paige who was 45.[22] By the All Star break, Wakefield possessed a major league-best 11–3 record.[23] Wakefield did not see action in St. Louis, as he was not needed by Joe Maddon. Wakefield missed the next six weeks with a lower back and calf injury. He made his next start on August 26 against the Chicago White Sox and pitched 7 innings with 1 earned run and no decision.

2010

Wakefield entered his 16th season with the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He began the year in the starting rotation until Daisuke Matsuzaka came off the disabled list. He later rejoined the rotation due to an injury to Josh Beckett. On May 12, Wakefield recorded his 2000th career strikeout against Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays in a 3-2 loss. He joined Jamie Moyer, Javier Vázquez, and Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers with at least 2000 career strikeouts. On June 8, Wakefield passed Roger Clemens for the most innings pitched by a Red Sox pitcher. He went on to win that game 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians. On June 13, Wakefield joined Moyer and Pettitte as the only active pitchers with 3,000 innings pitched. He accomplished this feat by retiring Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies on a fly ball to left. On July 2, he surpassed Clemens for another record, this for starts at Fenway; he went 8 innings to win 3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles.

On September 8, against the Tampa Bay Rays, he became the oldest Red Sox pitcher ever to win a game; he is also the oldest player to appear in a game for the Red Sox at Fenway.[24]

On October 28, before Game 2 of the 2010 World Series, Wakefield received the Roberto Clemente Award.

2011

Wakefield's 2011 season was followed in the documentary film Knuckleball![25][26] Wakefield started his seventeenth season in a Red Sox uniform as a reliever. Injuries to John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka moved him into the starting rotation.

On May 11, 2011, Wakefield pitched 1⅓ innings in relief as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox 9–3 at the Rogers Centre. He became, at 44 years, 282 days, the oldest player ever to appear for the Red Sox. At the All-Star break, Wakefield had a 5-3 record with a 4.74 ERA.[27] On July 24, 2011, while pitching against the Seattle Mariners, Wakefield recorded his 2,000th strikeout in a Red Sox uniform against Mike Carp. He also recorded his 199th career win in that game.

It took Wakefield eight attempts to earn his 200th career win after his 199th, finally doing so in an 18-6 rout over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on September 13, 2011. The victory came at a time when the Red Sox were in dire need of wins, with the Tampa Bay Rays gaining substantial ground in the race for the American League wild card as Boston fell four games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East division standings. Boston eventually missed the playoffs by one game, and Wakefield ended the season at 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA.

For the 2012 season, Wakefield was offered a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training, by the Red Sox. Wakefield announced his retirement on February 17, 2012.[28]

Wakefield finished his Red Sox career third in wins (behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young), second in strikeouts (behind Clemens), second in game appearances by a pitcher (behind reliever Bob Stanley), first in games started as a pitcher, and first in innings pitched.

Catcher

Because of the difficulty of catching a knuckleball, the Red Sox sometimes carried a backup catcher who specialized in defense and who caught most or all of Wakefield's starts. For several years, his personal catcher was Doug Mirabelli, who used a league-approved mitt similar to a softball catcher's mitt for catching Wakefield. Josh Bard briefly caught Wakefield during the first month of the 2006 season, before Boston reacquired Mirabelli on May 1 after trading him to San Diego the previous offseason. Mirabelli was released in the spring of 2008 and Wakefield's catcher was Kevin Cash during 2008. George Kottaras became his personal catcher in 2009. Victor Martinez was acquired by the Red Sox on July 31, 2009 and began catching for Wakefield on August 26, 2009. Martinez experimented catching Wakefield's pitches with various gloves and mitts before settling on a first baseman's mitt.[29] Due to injuries to both Martinez and Jason Varitek, Boston reacquired Kevin Cash from the Houston Astros on July 1, 2010, to serve as Wakefield's catcher as well as the primary catcher. Martinez became Wakefield's catcher once more when he returned. In 2011, Wakefield began the season in the bullpen and both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek caught him when he entered games. When Wakefield returned to the rotation, Saltalamacchia was the catcher in each game he started.

Pitching style

Tim Wakefield vs Yankees 2006
Wakefield throwing a knuckleball in a 2006 game

Wakefield pitched with what is said to be a slow sidearm motion, but is actually a ¾-overhand motion. This also revealed some of his pitches to hitters, because they can see his hand. Wakefield's primary pitch, the knuckleball, is normally thrown about 64–68 mph and has a great deal of variance in how much it 'flutters'. The flutter of his knuckleball depended on a variety of factors including temperature, humidity, precipitation (both type and intensity), air resistance, wind speed, wind direction, the condition of the ball, and very small changes in his grip or the orientation of the seams. Wakefield also featured a 71–75 mph fastball, a slow curve (57-61 mph), and a slower version of his knuckleball (59-62 mph).

Knuckleball pitchers are traditionally believed to be able to pitch more frequently and for more pitches per game than conventional pitchers. Throughout the first decade of his career, Wakefield followed a similar pattern: on April 27, 1993, he threw 172 pitches over 10+ innings in a game for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves.[30] In his first two weeks with the Red Sox, Wakefield pitched a total of 33⅓ innings, including two complete games in addition to a 7⅓-inning emergency start on just two days' rest.[31] As late as the 2003 and 2004 ALCS, Wakefield was making relief appearances between starts. In the later years of his career, the Red Sox generally treated Wakefield more like conventional pitchers in terms of pitch count, rarely allowing him to pitch more than about 110 pitches per game, and giving him four days of rest. Also, because of the relatively low wear on their pitching arms, knuckleball pitchers tend to have longer professional careers than most other pitchers.

At the time of his retirement, Tim Wakefield was 7th on the all-time hit batters list.

Batting

Due to the designated hitter rule, Wakefield only batted for the Red Sox when playing in National League parks. While with the Pirates, a National League team, he had a .071 and a .163 batting average in his two years. He hit the only home run of his career in 1993.[32] His career batting average was .117.[32]

Wakefieldsign
A sign for Wakefield at the 2007 World Series Rolling Rally celebration

Appearances outside of baseball

Philanthropy

Wakefield was well known throughout Major League Baseball as one of its most charitable players. He was nominated eight times by the Red Sox for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who best reflects the spirit of giving back to the community, winning the award in 2010.[33] Since 1998, Wakefield has partnered with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston to bring patients to Fenway Park to share time with him on and off the field. He has also hosted an annual celebrity golf tournament for 18 years. Wakefield has also been active with New England's Pitching in for Kids organization (a program dedicated to improving the lives of children across the New England region), the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in Melbourne, Florida, and the Touch 'Em All Foundation founded by Garth Brooks.

In 2007, Wakefield released a charity wine called CaberKnuckle in association with Longball Vineyards with 100% of the proceeds supporting Pitching In For Kids and raised more than $100,000.[34]

In 2013, the Red Sox named Wakefield Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation. In that role, Wakefield supports fundraising events, community service days and personal visits.[35]

Broadcasting

In June 2012, Wakefield joined NESN as a studio analyst for Red Sox coverage.

Endorsements

In August 2015, Wakefield signed on as a spokesperson for Farmington Bank by making appearances at branch grand openings and television, radio and print advertisements.[36]

Business interests

Wakefield was part owner of a restaurant in Pembroke, Massachusetts called Turner's Yard. One of his partners in the restaurant was National Hockey League player Shawn Thornton.[37] The restaurant is now closed.[38]

Personal life

Tim met his wife, Stacy Stover, in Massachusetts. They were married November 9, 2002. Their two children are Trevor (born in 2004) and Brianna (2005).[39] They own a home in Satellite Beach, Florida.[40][41]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Tim Wakefield Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  2. ^ "Boston Red Sox Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  3. ^ The Inside Pitch: Wakefield knuckles up ninth win Houston Chronicle
  4. ^ Benjamin, Amalie (October 28, 2010). "Wakefield wins Roberto Clemente award". The Boston Globe.
  5. ^ Tim Wakefield: Biography and Career Highlights | redsox.com: Players
  6. ^ a b http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/story/1593745.html Archived July 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ July 31, 1992 St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Play by Play and Box Score Baseball-Reference.com
  8. ^ Ocala Star-Banner via Google News Archive Search
  9. ^ Chass, Murray (September 23, 1994). "BASEBALL; Recalled Players Try to Get Pay Back". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  10. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2WcQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=io0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2099,2357516&dq=tim+wakefield
  11. ^ Wakefield Gets Twins To Knuckle Under The Washington Post via HighBeam Research
  12. ^ "Tim Wakefield – 2004 World Champions". RedSoxDiehard.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  13. ^ "Red Sox, Tim Wakefield agree to contract extension". MLB.com. Boston Red Sox. 2005-04-19. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  14. ^ Browne, Ian (September 11, 2005). "One Wakefield mistake proves costly". MLB.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
  15. ^ Red Sox leave Wakefield off World Series Roster Archived 2011-10-19 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "2008 Major League Baseball Baserunning/Situ". Baseball-Reference.com. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  17. ^ "Boston Red Sox – Red Sox pick up option on Wakefield – Boston.com". Archived from the original on April 16, 2009.
  18. ^ McAdam, Sean (April 16, 2009). "Bid at no-hitter just part of Tim Wakefield's story". Boston Herald.
  19. ^ Kenyon, Paul (April 22, 2009). "Red Sox 10, Twins 1: Wakefield goes distance in rain-shortened 7-inning game". The Providence Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  20. ^ Benjamin, Amalie (June 28, 2009). "Wakefield on top of it all in beating Braves". The Boston Globe.
  21. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090707055915/http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/wires/07/04/2010.ap.bbo.baseball.today.1st.ld.writethru.2056/. Archived from the original on July 7, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ Tomase, John (July 5, 2009). "Wakefield leads Sox All-Star contingent". Boston Herald. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  23. ^ Buckley, Steve (July 9, 2009). "After 11th win, Tim Wakefield deserves nod in AL". Boston Herald. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  24. ^ Golen, Jimmy (September 17, 2010). "Bautista hits 48th HR, Blue Jays beat Red Sox 11-9". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  25. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (2012-09-20). "The Art of the Flutter: 'Knuckleball!' Considers the Unpredictable Pitch". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  26. ^ Burr, Ty (2012-09-17). "Knuckleball! documentary is pitch-perfect". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  27. ^ "Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Box Score – May 11, 2011 – ESPN". Espn.go.com. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  28. ^ Rohrbach, Ben (2012-02-17). "Wake: 'The hardest thing I've ever had to do'". Weei.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  29. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (June 21, 2010). "Martinez Uses First Baseman's Mitt to Catch Knuckleballer". The New York Times.
  30. ^ April 27, 1993 Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Box Score and Play by Play Baseball-Reference.com
  31. ^ Benjamin, Amalie (July 5, 2009). "Shining, a Star or not". The Boston Globe.
  32. ^ a b "Tim Wakefield Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  33. ^ Benjamin, Amalie (October 28, 2010). "Wakefield wins Roberto Clemente award". The Boston Globe.
  34. ^ "Red Sox Honor Tim Wakefield". Fenway Ticket King. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  35. ^ "Tim Wakefield Returns to the Red Sox as Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and Special Assignment Instructor". Boston Red Sox.
  36. ^ "Former Red Sox Knuckleballer Has New Pitch Bank Spokesman".
  37. ^ http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/01/20/celebrity-owners-casual-vibe-turner-yard-pembroke/56S1d9k308qC3dkDxcDmMN/story.html
  38. ^ http://www.yelp.com/biz/turners-yard-pembroke
  39. ^ "Tim Wakefield's wife Stacy Stover". PlayerWives.com. 2002-11-09. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  40. ^ Tim Wakefield's House – Virtual Globetrotting
  41. ^ Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, WORLD Magazine (2011-04-08). "How Beleaguered Baseball Players Find Inner Peace, Christian Men Spiritual Life". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links

1992 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates season was their 111th season; the 106th in the National League. This was their 23rd season at Three Rivers Stadium. For the third consecutive season, the Pirates won the National League East Division Title with a record of 96–66. They were defeated four games to three by the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 National League Championship Series. The Pirates would not have another winning season until 2013.

1995 Boston Red Sox season

The 1995 Boston Red Sox season was the 95th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League East with a record of 86 wins and 58 losses, as teams played 144 games (instead of the normal 162) due to the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike. The Red Sox then lost to the American League Central champion Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

1998 Boston Red Sox season

The 1998 Boston Red Sox season was the 98th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 92 wins and 70 losses, 22 games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox qualified for the postseason as the AL wild card, but lost to the American League Central champion Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

2000 Boston Red Sox season

The 2000 Boston Red Sox season was the 100th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 85 wins and 77 losses, 2½ games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox did not qualify for the postseason, as the AL wild card was the Seattle Mariners who had finished second in the American League West with a record of 91–71.

2002 Boston Red Sox season

The 2002 Boston Red Sox season was the 102nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 93 wins and 69 losses, 10½ games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox did not qualify for the postseason, as the AL wild card was the Anaheim Angels who had finished second in the American League West with a record of 99–63.

2003 American League Championship Series

The 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was played between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees from October 8 to 16, 2003. The Yankees won the series four games to three to advance to the World Series, where they lost in six games to the National League champion Florida Marlins.

2003 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 2003 season was the 101st season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 101-61 finishing 6 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Joe Torre. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the playoffs, they defeated the Red Sox in 7 games in the ALCS, winning the pennant on Aaron Boone's dramatic 11th-inning home run. The Yankees advanced to the World Series, losing in a dramatic 6 game series to the Florida Marlins. It would be their second World Series loss in three years and last appearance in a World Series until 2009.

Augusta GreenJackets

The Augusta GreenJackets are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League, and they are the Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They play their home games at SRP Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, which opened in April 2018. They previously played at Lake Olmstead Stadium which had been the home of the GreenJackets from 1995 to 2017. The team is named in honor of The Masters golf tournament held across the river in Augusta, Georgia, where the winner receives a green jacket.

Before the Giants took over the club's affiliation after the 2004 season, the GreenJackets were a part of the Boston Red Sox organization. Prior to that, the Red Sox replaced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Augusta. The GreenJackets boast third baseman Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as the only prospects to make the Red Sox roster, although knuckle baller Tim Wakefield pitched there in 1989 with the Pirates organization. The Red Sox' relationship with Augusta met with immediate success when the GreenJackets won the South Atlantic League championship in their first year as an affiliate team.

Doug Mirabelli

Douglas Anthony Mirabelli (born October 18, 1970) is a former Major League Baseball catcher. He played for the San Francisco Giants (1996–2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Boston Red Sox (2001–2005), and San Diego Padres (2006) before returning to the Red Sox (2006–2007) to end his eleven-year career. He batted and threw right-handed.

Mirabelli was a career .231 hitter with 58 home runs and 206 RBI in 566 games. While with the Red Sox, he was well known as the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He was part of the Red Sox' World Series championship teams in 2004 and 2007.

Knuckleball

A knuckleball or knuckler is a baseball pitch thrown to minimize the spin of the ball in flight, causing an erratic, unpredictable motion. The air flow over a seam of the ball causes the ball to transition from laminar to turbulent flow. This transition adds a deflecting force on the side of the baseball. This makes the pitch difficult for batters to hit, but also difficult for pitchers to control and catchers to catch; umpires are challenged as well, as the ball's irregular motion through the air makes it harder to call balls and strikes. A pitcher who throws knuckleballs is known as a knuckleballer.

Knuckleball!

Knuckleball! is a 2012 documentary film that follows the 2011 seasons of Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey, Major League Baseball's only knuckleball pitchers that year. It was released in theaters on September 20, 2012 and on DVD on April 2, 2013. Wakefield won his 200th game in 2011 and Dickey won the 2012 Cy Young Award.

List of Boston Red Sox team records

The Boston Red Sox are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They have competed in the American League (AL) since it was founded in 1901, and in the AL East division since it was formed in 1969. Note that before 1908, the team was known as the Boston Americans. The list below documents players and teams that hold particular club records.

List of knuckleball pitchers

Knuckleball pitchers are baseball players who rely on the knuckleball as their primary pitch, or pitch primarily based on their ability to throw a knuckleball. The inventor of the knuckleball has never been established, although several pitchers from the early 20th century have been credited. Baseball statistician and historian Rob Neyer named four individuals in an article he wrote in the 2004 book The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers as potentially deserving credit, any of whom may have originated the pitch in either the 1907 or 1908 seasons. Nap Rucker of the Brooklyn Dodgers came up to the majors in 1907, initially throwing hard stuff but later switching to the knuckleball. A 1908 article credited Lew Moren as the inventor of the pitch. Ed Cicotte earned a full-time spot with the Detroit Tigers in 1908, earning the nickname "Knuckles" for his signature pitch. A picture of Ed Summers showed him gripping what he called a "dry spitter" using a variation of the knuckleball grip using the knuckles of his index and middle fingers.Unlike almost every other pitch in baseball, the knuckleball's erratic trajectory has often required teams to use dedicated catchers, often using specialized mitts, to field the deliveries. Clint Courtney used a specially constructed catcher's mitt, about 50% larger than the conventional mitts used at the time, to catch knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm during a game in May 1960. Umpire Al Smith credited the use of the glove with preventing three or four passed balls in that one game. The lower velocity of the knuckleball is credited with giving some who use it the ability to pitch more often and to sustain pitching careers far longer than those who rely on their fastball to get outs. Tim Wakefield pitched on consecutive days, when most starting pitchers in the 21st century throw after four days of rest. Hoyt Wilhelm pitched until he was almost 50 and Phil Niekro used the pitch until he was 48. Wakefield retired at 45.

The prevalence of the knuckleballer has varied over time. The 1945 Washington Senators finished 1½ games out of first place with a starting pitching staff that almost exclusively used the pitch, with four knuckleballers in the rotation. That season, the team's three catchers — regular catcher Rick Ferrell and backups Al Evans and Mike Guerra — combined for 40 passed balls, more than double that of any other team in the league.Baseball funnyman Bob Uecker, who was Phil Niekro's personal catcher with the Braves in 1967, has been quoted as saying "The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling, then go pick it up."Wilbur Wood, Joe Niekro, and R.A. Dickey have won The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award. In 2012, Dickey became the only knuckleballer to have won the Cy Young Award. Phil Niekro is the only knuckleball pitcher to win 300 games.

Mark Petkovsek

Mark Joseph Petkovsek (born November 18, 1965) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Texas Rangers (1991 and 2001), Pittsburgh Pirates (1993), St. Louis Cardinals (1995–98) and Anaheim Angels (1999–2000).

He attended the University of Texas, where he threw a seven-inning no-hitter in March 1987. Petkovsek was a first-round pick of the Rangers later that year, and in 1991, he made his major-league debut with the club, pitching 4​2⁄3 and taking the loss against the New York Yankees.

The Rangers granted him his free agency following the year, and he signed with Pittsburgh for 1992. He spent the year at AAA Buffalo, where he co-aced for the club with Tim Wakefield.

After Petkovsek appeared in 23 games for Pittsburgh in '93, the Pirates let Petkovsek walk, and the right-hander signed with the Astros for 1994. They assigned him to AAA Tucson out of Spring Training, and he spent the entire year there.

On May 16, 1994, Petkovsek threw the first nine-inning no-hitter in Tucson franchise history, beating the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 5–0, in his only complete game of the year. For his effort, Petkovsek was named PCL Pitcher of the Week.

As had the Rangers and Pirates before them, the Astros granted Petkovsek his free agency after the 1994 season, and he found a home in the Cardinals organization, pitching at both AAA Louisville and for the major league Redbirds in 1995. His 21 major league starts that year were a career high.

He helped the Cardinals win the 1996 National League Central Division, winning 11 times against only two defeats as a swingman. The 11 wins he had for St. Louis were a career high, regardless of professional level.

Roberto Clemente Award

The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media. It is named for Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente. Originally known as the Commissioner's Award, it has been presented by the MLB since 1971. In 1973, the award was renamed after Clemente following his death in a plane crash while delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.Each year, a panel of baseball dignitaries selects one player from among 30 nominees, one from each club. Teams choose their nominee during the regular season, and the winner is announced at the World Series. The player who receives the most votes online via MLB's official website, MLB.com, gets one vote in addition to the votes cast by the panel. Since 2007, the Roberto Clemente Award has been presented by Chevy. Chevy donates money and a Chevy vehicle to the recipient's charity of choice and additional money is donated by Chevy to the Roberto Clemente Sports City, a non-profit organization in Carolina, Puerto Rico, that provides recreational sports activities for children. Chevy donates additional funds to the charity of choice of each of the 30 club nominees.The first recipient of the award was Willie Mays, and the most recent honoree is Yadier Molina. No player has received the award more than once. The first pitcher to receive the award was Phil Niekro in 1980, and the first catcher to receive it was Gary Carter in 1989. To date, Clemente's former teammate Willie Stargell and Andrew McCutchen are the only members of the Pittsburgh Pirates to receive the honor. Stargell won his award in 1974, and McCutchen in 2015. The Pirates themselves have worn Clemente-era throwback uniforms in recent years on Roberto Clemente Day, on which day they present their award nominee to MLB. In 2014, the award was presented to two players—Paul Konerko and Jimmy Rollins—for the first, and to date only, time.

Watertown Pirates

The Watertown Pirates were a Short-Season Class-A minor league baseball team located in Watertown, New York. The team played in the New York–Penn League from 1983 to 1998. They played their home games at the Duffy Fairgrounds Ball Park.

From 1983 until 1988 the club was affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some notable Pirates, players from this era are Tim Wakefield, Jay Buhner, and Moisés Alou. In 1989 the team became in an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and were renamed the Watertown Indians. The team relocated to Staten Island, New York for the 1999 season and became the Staten Island Yankees.

Welland Stadium

Welland Stadium is a stadium in Welland, Ontario, Canada. It is primarily used for baseball and was the home of the Welland Pirates of the Short-Season A New York–Penn League who affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Niagara Stars of the Canadian Baseball League. The ballpark has a capacity of 2,500 people and was opened in 1989. Famous players who played for the Welland Pirates included Tim Wakefield. As of 2019, Welland Stadium is currently home to the Welland Jackfish of the Intercounty Baseball League and the Bullettproof Prospects of the Fergie Jenkins Showcase League.

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