Friday, February 17, 2012

Tim Wakefield: The Last Of A Dying Breed

One of my sports idols is calling it quits today. After 19 seasons in the majors and two World Series rings Tim Wakefield is announcing his retirement. As you well know I usually trend to gravitate towards the extremely talented superstar types so you might ask yourself how could a relative unknown make his way into the Cleavie Wonder hall of fame?

It's the way he re-invented himself with the knuckle ball. The pitch that flutters around like a butterfly and if thrown properly is virtually unhittable. Tim Wakefield began his career as a first baseman, but early on it became painfully obvious he would never make the majors as a position player. Instead of sulking or forcing the issue Tim developed a skill that would keep him around for almost two decades. The way he perfected a pitch that has little wear and tear on the body is pure genius. Very few athletes have accomplished more with less.

Tim Wakefield's career was nothing short of a fairytale. He got paid millions of dollars to pitch every 5th day and traveled the country like a rock star. What other job can you think of where you hit every major city in America for three days at a time enjoying the great summertime weather outdoors? It almost seems unfair.

The biggest reason Tim makes the Cleavie Wonder hall of fame however is the age factor. Anyone who can remain competitive in a sport at age 45 deserves a lot of credit. He may not have had the lightning bolt arm of a Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens, but his style was effective enough to get batters out. It wasn't flashy, but 200 wins is nothing to sneeze at. Way to go Tim.

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