In the upcoming Red Sox season, four new members will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame headlined by Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
It frankly doesn’t get more ‘Red Sox’ than Varitek and Wakefield. Tim Wakefield didn’t originally enter the MLB as a pitcher but once in the Pirates system he began playing around with a knuckleball and it was a match made in heaven. While surprisingly Varitek is the only player to appear in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, and the World Series.
Captain Jason Varitek was a career 0.256 hitter and lifetime Red Sox member (the Seattle Mariners for some minor league baseball but not much else) who played his college ball as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket alongside fellow Red Sox Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra. Varitek was a three-time All Star, two-time World Series Champion, one-time Gold Glover and one-time Silver Slugger but most importantly a constant behind the dish in Beantown. Tek has caught four career no-hitters and sported some of the best catcher’s equipment the world has ever seen.
Also, he did this.
Wake on the other hand was also a two-time World Series Champion, one-time All Star and he led the league in losses during the 1997 season. Tim finished third for both the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year and the 1995 AL Cy Young Award. With exactly 200 career wins and a number of AL MVP votes in ‘95 Wakefield found consistent success in an ever-changing game based on production. What many people don’t know about Wakefield is that in his career debut he pitched a complete game shutout against the St Louis Cardinals scattering 6 hits and 10 strikeouts. The knuckleballer had an non-traditional career path same with the way that the knuckleball’s path towards the plate goes. Tim Wakefield and Wilbur Wood had perhaps the most successful careers as a full-time knuckleballers in the history of baseball, while others find year to year triumphs like R.A. Dickey. The knuckleball is a tricky pitch to master but if you do, history has shown us that all the hard work can be rewarding.
It is only fitting that both Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield are to be inducted the same year since they were two familiar faces on one of the most successful teams in the 2000s. Maybe Doug Mirabelli should’ve been inducted as well but that could be a reunion for another day.
Cover Photo via CBS Boston
Various Photos via Pinterest, NY Daily News
Gif via Giphy