Tim Wakefield burst onto the national scene as a playoff hero with the Pittsburgh Pirates almost 20 years ago. He fell off the scene almost as quickly. Since then, his career has followed a long but bumpy path, mimicking the bumps and jumps of his signature pitch. This book follows his career as he changes teams, and changes roles. As he hits the highs and lows that are found in any career. How does he handle his success, and his disappointment? How did he last 20 years?
This is a fantastic book. Terry Francona has often said that he think he’s a good manager because he knows what it’s like to be a phenom, and what it’s like to be washed up trying to hold on. Tim Wakefield certainly knows how both of those feel. Those experiences have formed him into the player and teammate he is today. He was a slightly cocky youngster who assumed baseball would be easy. He was almost released before finding a role using the knuckler. He starred with the Pirates. He was released not long after. With the Sox he’s been a Cy Young contender, a long reliever, a closer, and a struggling starter. It was fascinating to see how all those experiences made Tim Wakefield. What did he think of being a closer? Has he been frustrated that the Sox use him as a utility knife? How much does he want to be the Red Sox career wins leader? This book had a great flow to it. Even the factual errors that seem to be present in any book associated with Tony Massarotti couldn’t detract from that. It was a fun read, that I had trouble putting down. Tim Wakefield’s career has a way of sneaking up on people. 200 wins? From that reliever? After reading this book, you’ll see that it never should have surprised anyone. Go read it. Quick.
Rating: 4 bases.