BOSTON (CBS) — Tim Wakefield’s 19-year MLB career is officially over.
The knuckleballer will announce his retirement at 5 p.m. on Friday at JetBlue Park, the Red Sox announced.
Wakefield, 45, spent 1992 and ’93 with the Pirates before spending 17 seasons with Boston from 1995-2011. His 186 wins with the Red Sox are third-most all time for the franchise, trailing only Roger Clemens and Cy Young.
Wakefield made his first All-Star team in 2009, when he started the year 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA.
In his career, Wakefield owns a 200-180 record, 4.41 ERA and 2,156 strikeouts.
Wakefield recorded his 200th career victory on Sept. 13 at Fenway Park, a quest that took eight starts to complete.
“He’ll go down as one of the best red sox pitchers in their team history,” WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche said moments after the announcement. “(He was) just shy of Clemens and Cy Young, he won two World Series Championships and was really an unselfish pitcher in a Red Sox uniform. He would do whatever the manager asked, whether it was start or relieve.”
Roche On Wakefield’s Retirement, Career
“At 45-years-old, Wake can look back at one of the greatest careers that came unexpectedly in a lot of people’s eyes,” said Roche. “It was certainly well deserved and he’ll forever be a star in Red Sox history.”
His now former teammates had nothing but great things to say of the knuckleballer when they heard the news.
“Wake’s career here has been pretty legendary,” Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard told WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Jonny Miller in Fort Myers on Friday. “I think you look at the career records he’s up there in everything. I won’t remember so much for that as much as the teammate and friend he became after three years with him. He was tough on me as a rookie, but still was uplifting enough. After you get through that first year he became a good friend and we hung out away from the field.”
“He was a professional in every aspect of the word,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “Off the field, on the field, in the clubhouse; as far as a friend he was a guy that would go out of his way for any of us.”
“I’m a little surprised because I think he did everything that was asked of him last year and more,” continued Saltalamacchia. “I would have liked to seen him back in camp, but I guess this is how things go.”
A member of the 2004 World Series team, Wakefield’s finest postseason performance came in 2003, when he went 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA and .179 opponents’ batting average, though Wakefield was on the mound for Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run in Game 7 of the ALCS.
While the ’03 ALCS may have been Wakefield’s best statistical postseason, he showed his true colors the following October when he gave up his start in order to eat innings in a Game 3 blowout against the Yankees. In the 19-8 loss, Wakefield chipped in with 3.1 innings out of the bullpen. After that night, the Red Sox never lost again on their way to breaking an 86-year-old curse.
In addition to his duty as starter, Wakefield also served as the part-time closer in 1999, when he recorded 15 saves and also made 17 starts.