BOSTON (AP) — Tim Wakefield, the knuckleballing workhorse of the Red Sox pitching staff who bounced back after giving up a season-ending home run to the Yankees in the 2003 playoffs to help Boston win its curse-busting World Series title the following year, has died. He was 57.
The Red Sox announced his death in a statement Sunday. Wakefield had brain cancer, according to ex-teammate Curt Schilling, who outed the illness on a podcast last week — drawing an outpouring of support for Wakefield. The Red Sox confirmed an illness at the time but did not elaborate, saying Wakefield had requested privacy.
Drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman who set home run records in college, Wakefield converted to a pitcher after mastering the knuckleball in the minor leagues. Relying on the old-timey pitch that had largely fallen into disuse, he went on to win 200 major league games, including 186 with the Red Sox — behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens in franchise history.
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Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press