Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Forgotten Opening Day Starters

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next
PITTSBURGH, PA – 1993: Tim Wakefield #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1993 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – 1993: Tim Wakefield #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1993 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

1993: Tim Wakefield

The Pittsburgh Pirates started a knuckleball pitcher in their first game of the 1993 season. That was right-hander Tim Wakefield. Wakefield, who was originally drafted as an infielder, made his transition to the mound in 1989 and looked outstanding in 1992. Wakefield ended up finishing 3rd place in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1992 after posting a 2.15 ERA, 3.27 FIP and 1.20 WHIP through his first 92 innings in the Major Leagues. He did not strike out many batters, nor was he a control freak with a 51/35 K/BB ratio, but he only allowed 3 home runs.

This earned him the Opening Day nod in 1993 and it ended up being a very interesting start. In 7 innings, he allowed 3 runs, but struck out 9 batters. The downside is that he also walked 9. Wakefield’s 1993 season didn’t go as planned. He only pitched 128.1 innings while having a 5.61 ERA, walking more batters than he struck out (59/75 K/BB ratio) and saw his HR/9 rise to 1.0.

Wakefield didn’t appear for the Pittsburgh Pirates again after 1993, spending the entire 1994 season at the Bucs’ Triple-A affiliate, but this was far from the end of Wakefied’s career. The Bucs released Wakefield early into the 1995 season and that’s when he was picked up by the Boston Red Sox. His first season with the Red Sox saw the knuckleballer finish 3rd in American League Cy Young voting.

Next. Luis Oviedo Impresses in MLB Debut. dark

Wakefield ended up pitching until 2011. Through those 17 seasons with the Red Sox he helped them win two World Series rings, went to the All-star game once and served multiple roles. He served as a starter, swing-man and even a closer once.

facebooktwitterreddit