At forty-four years old, Tim Wakefield is the longest-serving member of one of baseball’s most popular franchises. He is close to eclipsing the winning records of two of the greatest pitchers to have played the game, yet few realize the full measure of his success. That his career can be characterized by such words as dependability and consistency defies all odds because he has achieved this with baseball’s most mercurial weapon—the knuckleball.
Knuckler is the story of how a struggling position player bet his future on a fickle pitch that would define his career. The pitch may drive hitters crazy, but how does the pitcher stay sane? The moment Wakefield adopted the knuckleball, his career sought to answer that question. With the Red Sox, Wakefield began to master his pitch only to find himself on the mound in 2003 for one of the worst post-season losses in history, followed the next year by one of the most vindicating of championships. Even now, as Wakefield battles, we see the twists and turns of a major league career pushed to its ultimate extreme.
A remarkable story of one player’s success despite being the exception to every rule, Knuckler is also a lively meditation on the dancing pitch, its history, its mystique, and all the ironies it brings to bear.
The unpredictable knuckleball pitch shares the spotlight with the Boston Red Sox pitcher Wakefield in this book on one of the most enduring, determined hurlers in pro ball. Following a smart foreword by Phil Niekro, one of the master knucklers, Wakefield, a Red Sox pitcher since 1995 and winner of two World Series, explains how an immature Florida boy who struggled to make any team developed into an ace with a knuckleball that "floats in slow motion," giving batters fits. He credits those who went before him, such as Hoyt Wilhelm, Phil and Joe Niekro, Charlie Hough, and Wilbur Wood, with setting the standard that enabled him to record more outs than any previous Red Sox pitcher. The book, with able support by sports columnist Massarotti, depicts Wakefield as a "really decent person" on and off the field, but it reveals occasional blowups in the dugout with coaches and players, and the difficult times with a madcap prima donna like Manny Ramirez. Competent and entertaining, Wakefield's book is one to savor, especially for the stat-obsessed baseball fan and the novice pitcher in search of a knuckleball to call his own.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A good read but can get boring
Have You Ever Tried To Hit A Knuckleball?
The book Knuckler is a biography of Tim Wakefield, longtime Boston Red Sox knuckleball pitcher, written by Tony Massarotti and Wakefield himself.. It tells a great story of his progression from his backyard in Melbourne, FL, fiddling with the knuckleball in high school, college, and through the 2010 season. Wakefield has experienced a number of highs throughout his career. These include his dominating rookie year in 1992 with the Pirates, his outstanding 1st year with the Sox in 1995 in which he won 16 games, lost 8 and sported a 2.95 ERA, and being named to the 2009 AL All Star Team by Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. He also had many lows in his career which include the disappointing end to his rookie season in which he may have won the Rookie of the Year award if not for his last pitch of the season, his sophomore slump, and the Boone pitch. Knuckleball pitchers are unlike any other pitchers in the MLB. They can start or even close the game. The knuckleball is an extremely hard pitch to hit when the pitcher is having a good day. For example, “On April 27, 1993, as a member of the Pirates, Wakefield threw an astonishing 172 pitches in 10 innings of a 6–2 win over the Atlanta Braves; on June 5, 1997, he threw 169 pitches in 8⅔ innings of a 2–1 win for the Red Sox over the Milwaukee Brewers.” If the pitcher is having a bad day though, their pitch could not be working and hitters will be hitting the pitch every time.
My opinion on this book is that it is a very descriptive story and most of the story has stats of Tim Wakefield and other players. Subsequently, this book is boring due to all these stats and I believe that only people that love baseball or love Tim Wakefield will not get bored by this story. If someone does not follow baseball all of the time or is not a die-hard Red Sox fan, will get bored by this story and will not like the story overall.
A fantastic book that displays pure determination!