BOSTON - Tim Wakefield was a beloved pitcher for the Red Sox, known for his knuckleball, but his work off the field was just as impressive and a part of the legacy he leaves behind.
"Watching the slow motion of a Tim Wakefield knuckleball is just like, how do you catch that thing. The knuckleballers are just about all gone now," said Red Sox fan Bob Wihman. Wakefield's memory will last a lifetime for Boston natives and baseball fans nationwide.
"As a Red Sox fan, it's heartbreaking," said Chrissy Lauria.
Fans flocked to Fenway to honor Wakefield after the 57-year-old's untimely death from brain cancer.
"I didn't hear that he was sick at any point in time. My heart goes out to him and his family," said Red Sox fan Jim Hintze.
And Wakefield worked just as hard off the field as he did on it. From serving coffee to customers at Dunkin to being named chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010 for the dedicated work he did serving New England communities. This included working directly with the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Institute for years.
"On behalf of the entire institute and all of the Jimmy Fund, we're just incredibly saddened," said Rebecca Gavin, the vice president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund told reporters on Sunday. "Any time you lose a legend and an icon and someone as wonderful as Tim Wakefield was, it's an incredibly sad day."
And on Sunday, the same day Wakefield died of cancer, the 2023 Jimmy Fund Walk took place at Fenway Park, raising millions of dollars for cancer research.
"Kids and people look up to athletes on a daily basis, basketball, baseball, football, whatever it may be, and to give back to something as noble as a cause like pediatric cancer as a whole is very important," said Hintze.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, "...the league will continue to support their partners at Stand Up to Cancer in honor of Tim Wakefield, a player whose memory will live on both on and off the field."
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