Wakefield sets Red Sox milestone

Tim Wakefield set a new Red Sox record last night. Peter Abraham:

But pitching the most innings for a team like the Red Sox is an accomplishment that will stand the test of history.

"It's special because I had a pretty close relationship when [Clemens] was here. He kind of took me under his wing and showed me how to work hard and never give up. He showed me his work ethic. Just to be mentioned in that kind of company or to be able to pass a guy like Roger, who's a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion, is very special," Wakefield said.

"I'm very honored and humbled at the same time to be able to last as long as I have to be able to pass some numbers he put up."

Wakefield is third among active pitchers in innings pitched, trailing only Jamie Moyer and Andy Pettitte. He is 131st all-time.

A cynic would say that that's only a sign of longevity. But do not dismiss longevity. To pitch that many innings for a team that is usually in contention is remarkable. It means that the manager had faith to send you out there. It's not like a team like the Red Sox lacks the means to find somebody else.

I'm no cynic.

Wait. Flip that. Reverse it. I certainly am a cynic.

Not about Tim Wakefield, though. I'm glad he has the record and I think it's awesome and I'm rooting, as much as anything else this season, for him to win enough games where he'll have a chance next season to pass Cy Young and Roger Clemens on the Red Sox' all-time wins list.

Still, his innings record says a lot about the history of the Red Sox, doesn't it? By the standards of team records, 2,777 innings really isn't a lot. That number would rank third on the Yankees (behind Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing), seventh on the Tigers (behind Hal Newhouser and five non-Hall of Famers), fifth on the White Sox (behind Billy Pierce and three Hall of Famers), second on the Twins (behind Jim Kaat, and not counting Walter Johnson), third on the Indians (behind Bob Feller and Mel Harder) ... well, you get the idea. It's just a bit of a historical oddity that nobody's ever pitched 3,000 innings for the Red Sox. Doesn't mean it's not a kick to see his name atop that list.