Tim is sort of the anti-Manny. He’s not flashy; doesn’t stir up any controversy. Bill Plaschke and Mikey Adams probably like him. And he might secretly be paying the Red Sox to pitch. But his starts have become appointment television over the years for me. Why? He throws the knuckleball.
The knuckler is going the way of the polar bear, but it is one of my favorite pitches to watch. According to Fangraphs (just fool around with the site. You’ll find the right section.), only 5 major league pitchers floated the pitch last year; Wakefield, Charlie Saeger, and R. A. Dickey used it as their bread and butter pitch. Josh Banks and Eddie Bonine also tossed it on occasion. Charlie Zink is presumably somewhere in the minors. These other guys get the ball moving in the 70s, but the average Wakefield pitch goes about the Interstate speed limit. Along with Ramirez and Lincecum, Wake is a potential selectee for my Rabbit Maranville All Stars.