On May 15 at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox plan to pay tribute to knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who retired before the 2012 season. Here's the announcement from the team:
The Red Sox will honor Tim Wakefield May 15 with ‘Thanks, Wake Day' at Fenway Park. The club plays the Seattle Mariners at a special 4:05 p.m. starting time. A pregame ceremony tribute is expected to begin at approximately 3:30 p.m.
The right-handed knuckleball specialist, who won more games at Fenway Park than any pitcher in history, just completed a 19-year career in Major League Baseball, including 17 years with the Red Sox. He announced his retirement February 17, 2012, at the Red Sox’s new spring training site, JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Lee County, Florida.
Wakefield’s Red Sox reached postseason play nine times, and he was part of two momentous World Series Championships, in 2004 and 2007. His selflessness was pivotal in winning the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees.
A champion of charitable efforts in New England and his hometown of Melbourne, Florida, Wakefield was honored as the 2010 recipient of Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award. In 2011, the Boston chapter of the BBWAA announced the start of an annual Tim Wakefield Community Service Award in his honor.
Wakefield has been actively involved with “Pitching in for Kids,” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing grants to improve the lives of children across New England. He supports Melbourne’s Space Coast Early Intervention Center, a unique non-profit therapeutic pre-school program for children with special needs. He adopted the Center in 1992 when it was struggling financially and faced closure and has helped to raise over $10 million for the organization through his annual Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic and Memorabilia Auction. Over the last 13 years, his “Wakefield Warriors” program has enabled patients from the Franciscan Hospital for Children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston to visit with him and watch batting practice before all Tuesday home games at Fenway Park. He has also been an active participant of the Red Sox’s annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and served as the organization’s Co-Captain in 2010 and 2011.