Tim Wakefield will announce his retirement at a press conference later today, according to a Red Sox media release. The veteran knuckleballer had been considering the decision, saying that while he was interested in pitching in 2012, his first choice would be to return to the Red Sox, who were only offering him a minor league contract.
Wakefield, 45, was an eighth-round pick for the Pirates in the 1988 amateur draft. He burst onto the Major League scene in 1992 by posting a 2.15 ERA in 13 starts to help Pittsburgh win the NL East, and also went 2-0 in his two NLCS starts. Wakefield struggled afterwards, however, and was eventually released by the Bucs during Spring Training in 1995. He signed with the Red Sox six days later and the rest was history, as Wakefield went on to spend the next 17 seasons hurling his knuckler at Fenway Park.
Wakefield retires with a career 200-180 record, a 4.41 ERA and 2156 strikeouts over 3226 1/3 innings pitched. He is Boston's all-time leader in starts and innings pitched, and his 186 wins with the Red Sox ranks him third on the franchise's all-time wins list, just six behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young's shared mark of 192. According to Baseball Reference, Wakefield earned just under $56MM in his 19-year career.