Saturday, September 2, 2017

Book Review: 'Knuckler' by Tim Wakefield

"Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day's journey on this side and about a day's journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground." -- Numbers 11:31 (NKJV)

Having enjoyed watching Tim Wakefield tease and frustrate opposing pitchers for so many years, it was great fun to read about his career with an emphasis on his perspective in how to succeed for many years in the Show with just one difficult pitch, one that's hard to throw . . . as well as hard to hit. I wanted to stand up and cheer in the places where Wake provided almost all of the Red Sox winning pitches during difficult stretches. I wanted to give him a hug while reading about the times he bailed out the starters . . . and the bullpen . . . by piling up the innings when no one else could.

The big disappointment about the book is that it's written as a biography rather than as an autobiography with lots of entertaining quotes about what the experiences were like. A minor disappointment was found in the lack of interviews with those who swung, swung, and swung and missed . . . in key situations when Wake's knuckler was dancing unusually well.

It's a fine biography . . . but much of this book will be most appealing to those who don't know Wake's amazing career very well. Give this book to your grandchildren. They won't believe his accomplishments without some explanation about what a knuckle ball is, an increasing rarity in major league parks.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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