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Baseball pitcher, Tim Wakefield, was born August 2, 1966 in Melbourne, Florida. Tim Wakefield has played for the Boston Red Sox since 1995.
Tim Wakefield was selected in the 8th round of the free agent draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988. He began his minor league career as a corner infielder for Watertown of the New York-Penn League. After a scout told him that he would never get above Double-A ball as a "position player" with his skills, Wakefield began experimenting with various other positions, playing first base and third base, until he developed the knuckleball that has made him so well-known.
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 when he would lead 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.
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 31st - 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.
Down the stretch, Wakefield would provide a boost for the playoff-bound Pirates, starting 13 games and compiling an 8-1 record with a 2.15 ERA, a performance that would win him the National League Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award from The Sporting News. After winning the National League East division, the Pirates would face the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series and Wakefield won both of his starts against Braves star Tom Glavine.
In 1993, Wakefield was unable to duplicate his performance from the year before. He suffered control problems, a common ailment of a knuckleballer. In the first month of the season, he walked nine batters twice and ten in another start. After losing his spot in the starting rotation, Wakefield was sent down to Double-A in July where he continued to struggle. He was recalled in September and struggled again, but would finish the season with two straight shutouts (though he walked six in his final start).
Wakefield spent most of 1994 with Triple-A Buffalo working on his control problems but made little progress. He led the league in losses, walks, and home runs allowed. While Wakefield would once again be recalled to the Pirates in September, he did not play because of the players strike.
The Pirates released Wakefield on April 20, 1995.
Tim Wakefield signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox six days after his release from the Pirates and quickly returned to form. He won 16 games, helping the Red Sox win the American League East division title, and captured the Sporting News American League Comeback Player of the Year. He finished third in the A.L. Cy Young Award balloting.
Tim Wakefield is currently the longest-serving member of the Red Sox. On April 19, 2005, Wakefield agreed to a $4 million, one-year "rolling" contract extension that gives the Red Sox the ability to keep their longest-tenured player for the rest of his career. Wakefield entered his 14th season with the Boston Red Sox in 2008.
Tim Wakefield is well known throughout Major League Baseball as one of its most charitable players. He has been nominated many 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. Since 1998, Wakefield has partnered with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston to bring patients to Fenway Park to share time with him and on the field. He has also hosted an annual celebrity golf tournament for 15 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