Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, and Jackie Robinson all have one thing in common: their numbers have been retired by the Boston Red Sox.
As one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, it’s no wonder why the Red Sox have had so many numbers retired in their 117 year lifetime. But even though 10 numbers will never be worn again by a member of the Red Sox, it is inevitable that there will be another number retired by the team in the future.
The question that’ll make for a good discussion the next few seasons is: Whose number will it be?
Just think of all of the instrumental players in recent history whose number has yet to be enshrined on the facade in right field at Fenway Park. The likes of Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Roger Clemens, and Dwight Evans have yet to have their well-deserved ceremony during pregame festivities. But as far as who is the most deserving of being the next retiree, it should be Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield spent 17 seasons of his 19 with the Red Sox. A tenure that brought two World Series titles to the city in 2004 and in 2007. Even though Wakefield wasn’t on the World Series roster for the latter of the two, his 17-12 record helped pace the Red Sox to a 96-66 record in the regular season.
Wakefield won 186 games in Boston, which is absolutely unheard of for a guy who made a living throwing the ultimate feel pitch; the Knuckleball.
But the impact Wakefield left on the organization branches much further out from his successes on the field. He played just as important of a role in the community, particularly with the Jimmy Fund, which has been the number one charity for the Red Sox since 1953. Since his retirement, Wakefield has assumed the roles as Chairman of the Jimmy Fund, which was previously the title taken by former Red Sox infielder, Mike Andrews.
Wakefield was everything you could ever ask for as a Red Sox fan. He was the epitome of professional, and played the game with class. It’s just something that Red Sox fans aren’t accustomed to seeing from a handful of important players in recent memory.
While all of the aforementioned players are very deserving candidates, there is none more deserving than the man who donned No.49 for Boston.