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The Boston Red Sox announced the death of longtime right-handed pitcher Tim Wakefield on Sunday. He was 57 years old.

The team issued the following statement:

Wake embodied true goodness; a devoted husband, father, and teammate, beloved broadcaster, and the ultimate community leader. He gave so much to the game and all of Red Sox Nation.

Our deepest love and thoughts are with Stacy, Trevor, Brianna, and the Wakefield family.

Wakefield, one of the majors' last prominent knuckleballers, appeared in 627 career games over 19-big-league seasons. He amassed a 4.41 ERA (105 ERA+) and a 1.79 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His contributions were worth an estimated 34.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference's calculations.

Wakefield began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was released early in the 1995 season, and subsequently latched on with the Red Sox. Despite debuting with Boston as a 28-year-old, he would go on to become the franchise's all-time leader in games started and innings pitched. Wakefield also ranks third in wins and sixth in Wins Above Replacement. 

Tim Wakefield's Red Sox Franchise Ranks

  • Wins : 186 (3rd)
  • Innings pitched: 3,006 (1st)
  • Strikeouts: 2,046 (2nd)

Wakefield spent 17 of his 19 big-league seasons with the Red Sox. He made one All-Star Game and won two World Series titles with the Red Sox. He also won the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the individual who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team." After he retired, Wakefield remained part of the Red Sox community by becoming a personality on NESN and an honorary chairman for the Red Sox Foundation.

"Tim's kindness and indomitable spirit were as legendary as his knuckleball. He not only captivated us on the field but was the rare athlete whose legacy extended beyond the record books to the countless lives he touched with his warmth and genuine spirit," Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. "He had a remarkable ability to uplift, inspire, and connect with others in a way that showed us the true definition of greatness. He embodied the very best of what it means to be a member of the Boston Red Sox and his loss is felt deeply by all of us."

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Wakefield, one of the most unique pitchers of his generation and a key part of the most successful era in the history of the Boston Red Sox. Tim's knuckleball allowed him to excel as a rookie with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992. In 1995, he began a 17-year tenure in Boston, where he made a mark that will be remembered forever. Tim was more than just a versatile and reliable All-Star pitcher, a highly respected teammate, and a two-time World Series Champion. In 2010, Tim was named the Roberto Clemente Award winner for the dedicated work he and his family did serving the communities of New England.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Tim's family, his friends and teammates across the game, and Red Sox fans everywhere. We will continue to support our partners at Stand Up To Cancer in the memory of Tim and all those who are in the fight against this disease."

Last week, former Red Sox teammate Curt Schilling publicly disclosed Wakefield had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The Red Sox issued a statement in response noting that the information had been made public without the family's consent.