Update, Oct. 1, 2:41 p.m.: Tim Wakefield, former Red Sox knuckleballer who won two World Series, dies at 57
Tim Wakefield, whose knuckleball helped deliver two World Series championships for the Red Sox, is fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer that was recently discovered.
Against Wakefield’s wishes, former teammate Curt Schilling put out that news on his podcast. He also revealed that Wakefield’s wife, Stacy, has a different form of cancer.
“We are aware of the statements and inquiries about the health of Tim and Stacy Wakefield,” said a release Thursday from the Red Sox that was approved by the Wakefields and their representative.
“Unfortunately, this information has been shared publicly without their permission. Their health is a deeply personal matter they intended to keep private as they navigate treatment and work to tackle this disease.
“Tim and Stacy are appreciative of the support and love that has always been extended to them and respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”
Wakefield, 57, played for the Sox from 1995-2011. His 186 victories are third in team history. He is second in games pitched (590), first in innings (3,006), and second in strikeouts (2,046).
Wakefield also won the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for community service in 2010.
After retiring as a player, Wakefield stayed active with the team. He became honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, started working with NESN as an analyst in 2012, and helped coach Steven Wright, a knuckleballer who played for the Sox from 2013-19.
Wakefield took on all roles as a pitcher, making 430 starts for the Sox as well as working as a closer for part of the 1999 season, earning 15 of his 22 career saves. He also appeared in 16 postseason games from 1995-2008.
Wakefield played a significant role in the Red Sox winning their historic championship in 2004. He pitched 3½ innings of relief in a lopsided Game 3 loss to the Yankees in the ALCS, giving the Sox enough pitching to win Game 4.
Wakefield then worked three innings of shutout relief to win Game 5, which ended in the 14th inning on David Ortiz’s walkoff single.
The Sox went on to beat the Yankees in seven games, then won the World Series with a four-game sweep of the Cardinals.
A Florida native, Wakefield was drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman in 1988 before becoming a pitcher.