Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield retired today. I love Wake. The Form of Unselfishness in an era of incredibly selfish ballplayers. Wake was willing to do anything for the team. He started, did middle relief, set-up, even closed. He was heroic and selfless in the 2004 World Series run (giving up his starts to pitch garbage innings in a blowout and to do extra innings). His contract is what was really remarkable. Wakefield signed a rolling $4 million per year contract. Essentially he played on a one year contract, giving the team an infinite number of options to pick up the contract. Sure, $4 million is a lot of money, but he could have commanded a lot more money and considerably more security in years somewhere else. Red Sox Nation has always loved him, a love generously poured out in a large ovation in 2004 (a sign that he had been quickly forgiven for the Aaron Freaking Boone walk off homer in the 2003 ALCS).
I had hoped the Sox would bring him back and give him enough starts to get the 6 more wins he would need to pass Clemens and Cy Young for the team win record. Alas, that was not to be. Despite getting to 200 wins last year, I doubt it will be enough to get Wake into the Hall of Fame. He will doubtless join the Red Sox HOF, and that is well deserved. I think it is fair to say he is the best knuckleballer of his generation and should be considered in the top 5 or so best knucklers of all time.