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Tim Wakefield

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I plan on posting two articles today, so bear with me through my first congratulatory one for Tim Wakefield. Wake moved into 4th place on the Red Sox all-time win list with his 118th win, putting him ahead of Pedro Martinez and Smokey Joe Wood. Here is the top 10 list for the Sox:

  1. Roger Clemens/Cy Young 192
  2. Mel Parnell 123
  3. Luis Tiant 122
  4. Tim Wakefield 118
  5. Pedro Martinez/Joe Wood 117
  6. Bob Stanley 115
  7. Joe Dobson 106
  8. Lefty Grove 105
This is an interesting list for many reasons. First of all, it is hard to believe only two pitchers have come close to 200 wins in the 104 years of existence for the Red Sox. They both ended up with 192 to make it a little weirder. The other oddity is the fact that Mel Parnell rests in 3rd place all-time with 123, one ahead of Tiant, and 5 ahead of Tim Wakefield. Think of this folks; Tim Wakefield is 6 wins away from sole possession of third place on the all-time win list for one of the older franchises in baseball. Not only that, but he will be in front of Pedro Martinez, Joe Wood, and Lefty Grove, and directly behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young. Granted, wins totals being equal do not necessarily decree a greater talent or dominance, but Wake deserves some recognition for his tenure in a Boston uniform. Let's take a look at the top 10 win totals and compare their careers via the beauty of Davenport Translated Cards and ERA+:

Cy Young (1901-1908)
WARP3: 68.9
PRAR: 652
Top 5 ERA+: 216, 194, 166, 148, 145
K: 1341

Roger Clemens (1984-1996)
WARP3: 112.7
PRAR: 1037.37
Top 5 ERA+: 211, 177, 175, 169, 164
K: 2590

Mel Parnell (1947-1956)
WARP3: 50.7
PRAR: 541
Top 5 ERA+: 157, 139, 137, 137, 135
K: 732

Luis Tiant (1971-1978)
WARP3: 49.4
PRAR: 508
Top 5 ERA+: 169, 132, 128, 125, 120
K: 1075

Tim Wakefield (1995-2005)
WARP3: 55.6 (thru 5/08/05)
PRAR: 548
Top 5 ERA+: 163, 157, 116, 115, 110 (2005 could bring him another good figure; current ERA of 3.18)
K: 1356

Pedro Martinez (1998-2004)
WARP3: 67.8
PRAR: 637
Top 5 ERA+: 285, 245, 212, 196, 189
K: 1683

Smokey Joe Wood (1908-1915)
WARP3: 38
PRAR: 318
Top 5 ERA+: 187, 180, 162, 152, 128
K: 986

Bob Stanley (1977-1989)
WARP3: 61.3
PRAR: 551
Top 5 ERA+: 158, 153, 149, 130, 125
K: 693

John Dobson (1941-1950, 1954)
WARP3: 41.1
PRAR: 455
Top 5 ERA+: 132, 123, 117, 114, 113 (twice)
K: 690

Lefty Grove (1934-1941)
WARP3: 53
PRAR: 533
Top 5 ERA+: 190, 185, 176, 160, 158
K: 749

As usual Win-Loss records don't tell the whole story; Clemens has the best long standing stats like WARP3 and K's, but Pedro had sheer dominance compared to the league that even an instant legend like Roger Clemens can't touch. Cy Young was great, but nowhere near Pedro and Clemens level, and Wakefield passes everyone on the list except Lefty Grove and the triple entente of Cy Young (who the best pitcher award is name after) Roger Clemens (who the pitchers award should be named after) and Pedro Martinez (arguably will retire greatest ever). So basically, it comes down to this:

Best Red Sox Pitchers in History. Lefty Grove did not pitch long enough or dominating enough to make this some kind of Square of Doom, but he merits attention for his Boston career.

  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Pedro Martinez
  3. Cy Young
  4. Lefty Grove
  5. Tim Wakefield
If Wakefield can string together a few more successful seasons (He is currently 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA and a WARP3 of roughly 3) than he will most definitely cement himself as the 4th greatest pitcher in the history of a franchise with a lot of history. This is something to be extremely proud of, and I hope all Red Sox fans appreciate Wake like they should. He'll have his own place in the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame when it is all over, although I wish he'd pitch til he's 55 and make it to Cooperstown based on career length and achievments. Knuckleballers sadly have legs that get tired rather than arms, so this will not come to pass. Enjoy the wondrous butterfly from Wake while you can, and watch his ascent into Red Sox history.

NOTE: Just so everyone knows, I checked the all-time Games Started, Innings Pitched, Strikeout, and various other all-time Sox lists in order to see if anyone slipped under the radar. For the most part, it looks as if the ten best Red Sox pitchers in history are most of the ones you see before you on this list; if someone is better than Dobson or Stanley, they definitely do not crack into the top 5, or even top 7 (Wood and Tiant follow Wake in the listings from what I see).

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