Aaron Boone sends prayers, extends support to Tim Wakefield, wife

Tim Wakefield is with the Red Sox' 2013 World Series trophy at Fenway Park.

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Aaron Boone’s legacy is eternally tied to Tim Wakefield. When he learned about the life-threatening diagnosis of his ex-rival and his wife, the Yankees manager expressed support for their battle against cancer.

The Yankees third baseman cemented his place in history by homering off Wakefield’s fluttering knuckleball in the epic 2003 ALCS at the historic Yankee Stadium. The 20th anniversary of Aaron Boone’s walk-off blast in the 11th inning, vanquishing Tim Wakefield’s Red Sox while sending the Yankees to the World Series and prolonging Boston’s agonizing Bambino hex, will soon be upon us.

But Tim Wakefield is grappling with severe illnesses and fighting for his life. Upon hearing on Thursday of Tim Wakefield’s daunting health situations and his wife’s cancer struggle, Aaron Boone expressed profound regret and sent his support.

Aaron Boone reflected on the situation, acknowledging that it’s a sobering reminder of life’s unpredictability. He emphasized how such events provide perspective on the daily opportunities one has. The New York Yankees manager expressed his belief that Tim Wakefield would receive a lot of support from the baseball community and assured him that he and his team were there for him during this challenging time.

Aaron Boone voices sympathy, support for Tim Wakefield

Curt Schilling, his former teammate in Boston from 2004-07, revealed on his podcast that Tim Wakefield is battling aggressive brain cancer. Schilling also divulged that Tim Wakefield’s wife, Stacy, faces the sobering challenge of pancreatic cancer.

Prior to Thursday’s Yankees-Blue Jays game, Aaron Boone acknowledged some previous awareness of the grievous circumstances. He lauded Wakefield as a respected and beloved figure from their playing days. The Yankees manager offered heartfelt sympathy to Wakefield as he navigates formidable family trials, including Stacy’s condition and their children. The manager extended earnest thoughts and prayers to the Wakefields as they confront this testing tribulation.

The iconic homer by Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone’s iconic home run on October 16, 2003, stands as one of the two legendary pennant-winning homers in Yankees history, alongside Chris Chambliss’ memorable shot against the Royals in 1976.

In 2003, Aaron Boone, who had been an All-Star third baseman for the Reds, was traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Despite his strong regular-season performance, he struggled in the playoffs and was notably absent from the starting lineup in ALCS Game 7.

Stepping in as a pinch-runner for Ruben Sierra in the eighth inning, Boone had his first plate appearance in the 11th inning of a tied game with the score at 5-5. When Tim Wakefield delivered his first pitch, Aaron Boone crushed it deep into the left-field bleachers, securing a dramatic victory for the Yankees and propelling them to their sixth World Series appearance in just eight years.

The Marlins emerged victorious in the World Series, clinching the championship in a six-game series.

Tim Wakefield, at the age of 57, achieved the milestone of 200 career victories over his 19 seasons in Major League Baseball. His journey began with the Pirates in the initial two seasons (1992-93) and concluded with an impressive 17-year stint with the Red Sox (1995-2011). Notably, he earned an All-Star selection in 2009.

In the years since that memorable 2003 postseason, Aaron Boone and Tim Wakefield have crossed paths on multiple occasions, yet neither has broached the topic of the pennant-clinching home run.

Aaron Boone mentioned that he has had meaningful conversations with Wake over the years, but they never discuss the specific home run. He shared that their conversations primarily involve catching up because he enjoys spending time with Tim Wakefield, finding him to be a great person to be around. Aaron Boone also noted that while they may not have signed any formal agreements or done anything specific related to the home run, he holds a deep appreciation and respect for the Red Sox pitcher.

Tim Wakefield and wife both battle cancer

The Boston Red Sox released an official statement today, with the consent of Tim and Stacy Wakefield:

“We are aware of the statements and inquiries about the health of Tim and Stacy Wakefield. Unfortunately, this information has been shared publicly without their permission. Their health is a deeply personal matter they intend to keep private as they navigate treatment and work to tackle this disease. Tim and Stacy are appreciative of the support and love that has always been extended to them and respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”

Schilling shared on his podcast, “The Curt Schilling Baseball Show,” that Tim had been diagnosed with an extremely serious and aggressive type of brain cancer. Additionally, he disclosed that Tim Wakefield’s wife, Stacy, had been dealing with pancreatic cancer.

Schilling and Tim Wakefield, who were part of the Red Sox’s historic victories over the Yankees in 2004 and their subsequent World Series win in 2007, formed a close friendship during their time as teammates and have maintained occasional contact since.

Schilling, who made his return to the sports media world in February, expressed uncertainty about whether Tim Wakefield wanted the news of his diagnosis to be made public. However, he decided to share it, driven by a belief in the strength of collective prayer and a sense of responsibility or remorse.

He mentioned that the situation in Tim Wakefield’s case was extremely serious. The pitcher had undergone surgery, and there was a sense of guilt involved, partly stemming from the feeling that they hadn’t communicated as much as they should have.

Tim Wakefield, renowned for his mastery of the knuckleball, formally declared his retirement from professional baseball following the 2011 season. After being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of the 1998 MLB Draft, the right-handed pitcher spent two seasons with the Pirates before signing a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1995, where he would go on to spend the entirety of his illustrious career.

During his tenure with the Red Sox, Tim Wakefield amassed a record of 186 wins against 168 losses, maintaining a 4.43 ERA. Remarkably, only Roger Clemens and Cy Young could boast more victories for the team, tallying 192 wins. His legacy with the franchise is cemented as he holds the top spot in team history for innings pitched, boasting an impressive 3,006 innings, and starts with 430 while ranking second in games played and strikeouts.

Across his entire career, Tim Wakefield compiled a record of 200 wins compared to 180 losses, maintaining a career ERA of 4.41. In his final season, he posted a 7-8 record with an ERA of 5.12, making 23 starts and contributing as a reliever in 10 additional appearances.

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