The announcement that Tim Wakefield would return to the Red Sox as honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation as well as special assignment instructor in baseball operations meant another familiar face from the team’s gilded age would walk the halls in the front office, with Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek already serving as special assistants to general manager Ben Cherington.
The thought of making that kind of crossover, Wakefield said, never crossed their minds as players.
“That was far from our mind at that point,” said Wakefield. “Our goal was to win championships. Now that we’re not playing anymore, it’s a value to have us help the organization win more championships here for the city.”
After taking time to decompress following his retirement last year, Tim Wakefield slowly started brainstorming ways to again become involved in the organization. The Red Sox, knowing the charitable work he did as a player (Wakefield won Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for community service in 2010), worked to find ways to reconnect with him the way they did with Martinez and Varitek, who took on their new roles earlier this year.
“It’s been the goal for John Henry, Tom Werner, our entire organization to bring back the entire trifecta and to get them reconnected to this team and making contributions on the field and off the field,” said president/CEO Larry Lucchino.
“In Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, we think we have reassembled three of the pillars of this organization and can re-engage them in really productive, positive work going forward that will be in addition to the massive contributions they made to this team, this franchise on the field.”
His familiarity with the players in the clubhouse, Wakefield said, will make it easy to accomplish the foundations goals from raising to setting up community service days and personal visits.
“During my playing career, 95 percent of those guys are involved in something,” Wakefield said. “It may not be publicized but every one of those guys in the clubhouse that I knew and played with was involved in some fashion with the community here in New England. So that part won’t be hard. I think it’ll be easy having a former player taking a head position to kind of relate to them, but it won’t be hard to convince guys, whether it’s with the Red Sox organization or other charitable ventures that they want to get into.
As a special assignment coach Wakefield will be an extra set of eyes for pitching coach Juan Nieves and throughout the organization.
“I might be able to see something mechanically or help out another pitcher mentally, just another sounding board for them.
“One benefit that I had when I was younger was having the access to Charlie Hough, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, [Tom] Candiotti, all the guys that walked in the shoes before me and I thought it was very valuable to my success and my career. It’s just nice that I could be that person for the younger generation of knuckleballers that we have in the organization.”