I wrote this about King Wake back in 2010. But a lot of the sentiments still apply. So today, I repost, in honor of his retirement, which he’s officially announcing during a press conference at 5:00pm.
Red Sox win, continuing their summer revival and keeping pace with the Rays and Cranks, who also won.
But the big story tonight was Tim Wakefield, AKA Shakey Wakey, AKA The Face of the Franchise, AKA The Ageless Wonder, AKA The Fellow Who “Plays The Game Right,” AKA The Heart and Soul of Your Favorite Baseball Team, AKA Ruth Gomez, AKA The Only Player On The 2010 Sox Who Can Stare Out Into Space Wistfully And Say, “I Remember the Vaughn Eshelman era,” AKA The Guy Who, If We Cloned Him, Would Give Us An Army Of Impossibly Nice Dudes Who Can Toss One Hell of a Knuckler.
Tonight, Timmeh became the Red Sox’ all-time leader in innings pitched with 2,777, supplanting previous record holder Roger Clemens. And, honestly, if the world blew up or got eaten by space robots tomorrow, who would you rather have repping us at the top of that mountain? Me, too.
There isn’t much I can say about the dude that I haven’t already said, but it honestly couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. For all the times he’s been shifted from starter to bullpen to mop-up to limbo to being left off playoff rosters entirely, the Wake’s always stepped up and done right by us, giving 110 percent in whatever role he’s been cast. Personally, I like that in my ballplayers.
I’ve always said that if anyone else had given up that home run pitch to Aaron Boone in 2003, he might just have been run out of town along with Grady. But I can’t recall a single ill word cast at Timmeh after that nightmare went down. And that speaks volumes to me.
Anyway, he’s not done too badly for a Dan Duquette reclamation project. I say we retire his number the minute he hangs up his cleats. Which should be right around the time that talking apes take over the world.
Oh, and for nostalgia’s sake, who did Wake face in his very first inning of work for the Red Sox, on May 27, 1995 against the California Angels? None other than Tony Phillips, Jim Edmonds, Tim Salmon, Chili Davis, JT Snow and Eduardo Perez. Today, those guys can be found puttering around their local libraries and greeting folks at Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, Wake’s still bringing it to the people, two-hundred and sixteen years later.
May his pitches flutter on forever. Hell, they just might.