Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is battling brain cancer, according to his ex-teammate Curt Schilling, who is now being criticized for revealing the diagnosis.
‘This is not a message that Tim has asked anyone to share, and I don’t even know if he wants it shared,’ Schilling said on his podcast, The Curt Schilling Baseball Show. ‘Recently, Tim was diagnosed with a very serious, very aggressive form of brain cancer.’
Schilling also told his listeners that Wakefield’s wife, Stacy, is battling pancreatic cancer. The couple has two teenage children and currently lives in Florida.
The Red Sox released a statement Thursday stating that the Wakefields ‘respectfully ask for privacy at this time.’
Wakefield, 57, is a celebrated member of the 2004 Red Sox, who came back from a 3-0 deficit against the rival New York Yankees to win the American League Championship Series en route to the team’s first World Series title since 1918. The knuckleballer played a key role in the postseason by volunteering to pitch in relief during a blowout loss to the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS, thereby saving the other pitchers’ arms for the historic comeback.
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is battling brain cancer , according to former teammate Curt Schilling, who is now facing criticism for revealing the news
‘Recently, Tim was diagnosed with a very serious… form of brain cancer,’ Schilling said
‘Wow just another punch in the gut,’ tweeted Red Sox legend Wade Boggs, who left Fenway two years before Wakefield’s arrival in Boston. ‘@TimWakefield49 diagnosed with brain cancer. [You] can beat it Brother keep up the fight.’
While many shared their grief on social media following Schilling’s revelation, former US Soccer star Taylor Twellman criticized the controversial retiree on social media: ‘This is NOT your place [Schilling]. It wasn’t your news to share. BS.’
The Red Sox released a statement Thursday, explaining that Tim and Stacy Wakefield hope to keep their health matters private.
‘We are aware of the statements and inquiries about the health of Tim and Stacy Wakefield,’ read the team statement. ‘Unfortunately, this information has been shared publicly without their permission.
‘Their health is a deeply personal matter they intended 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.’
Tim Wakefield, flanked by his wife Stacy, wipes a tear from his eye at Fenway Park in 2012
Wakefield was drafted as a first baseman by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988, but after struggling to develop, decided to learn to throw a knuckleball in hopes of becoming a pitcher.
The ploy worked, and by 1992, Wakefield was frustrating National League hitters with his fluttering knuckler – a pitch that never broke 70mph, but somehow managed to evade bats and often catchers’ gloves as well.
The Pirates reached the playoffs with Wakefield in 1992, but he began struggling soon after and ultimately found himself back in the minors by the mid-1990s.
However, upon arriving in Boston in 1995, Wakefield turned the corner and established himself as one of the game’s most reliable back-end starters for the better part of the 2000s.
He would earn his first All-Star nod in 2009 before retiring after the 2011 season at 44.
Since calling it quits, Wakefield has been active in charities, including the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston, as well as broadcasting and a number of endorsements.
A two-time World Series champion, Wakefield was also the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work.
Former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs reacted to the news by offering encouragement
Former US Soccer star and ESPN personality Taylor Twellman objected to Schilling’s decision
Others were upset that Schilling decided to reveal Wakefield’s diagnosis on his podcast
Schilling’s decision to reveal the diagnosis has drawn criticism, but that’s hardly a new experience for the outspoken conservative.
The Alaska native has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others.
He’s also blamed his failure to gain induction into the Hall of Fame on liberal BBWAA members, telling sports radio host Clay Travis that ‘the hatred for President Trump and conservatives runs deep.’
Schilling’s insistence that he’s the victim of the BBWAA’s supposed liberal bias is contradicted by the 2019 induction Mariano Rivera.
The former New York Yankees closer worked in the Trump administration as the co-chair the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition before becoming the first player to be unanimously selected to the Hall of Fame. Later, after his Hall of Fame selection, Trump honored Rivera with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.