A fantastic story in today's Globe about Tim Wakefield*, who likely will appear in his first-ever All-Star Game tomorrow night.
The Eve of Improbability
In 1995, when Wakefield was tearing through AL hitters, such stories were common. Seemingly every newspaper covering the Sox (and that number was much larger than it is today) ran at least one full-scale story about the knuckleballer and his pitch. Wakefield went 14-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his first 17 starts that season. He allowed 139 baserunners in 131 innings. He allowed zero or one earned run 10 times. Only four times did he post a game score below 60. The crowning game was June 4, when he threw all 10 innings in a 2-1 Boston win, with the one run unearned.
Fourteen years later, Wakefield has been largely taken for granted. He's never approached such a long streak of dominance, though he's certainly had his moments. He's simply done everything the Sox have asked of him, and been one of the most consistently good starters in baseball over that time. He's getting his due in what is probably the twilight of his career, to borrow a notorious phrase. It couldn't happen to a better guy.
* with bonus quotes from the manager of our local independent-league baseball team.