My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch

By Tim Wakefield; Tony Massarotti; Phil Niekro (Foreword by)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), Hardcover, 9780547517698, 274pp.

Publication Date: April 2011


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.

About the Author
TIM WAKEFIELD has pitched for the Red Sox since 1995 and has won two World Series. Noted for his charitable contributions off the field, he has been nominatedseven times for the Roberto Clemente Award.

TONY MASSAROTTI is a nationally recognized sports columnist and the author of the "New York Times" Bestseller "Big Papi" (with David Ortiz).

Praise For Knuckler

"An incredibly intelligent, self-aware glimpse inside an admirable career. The preseason pick for best baseball book of the season." –Booklist (starred review)

"A must-read." -- Boston Globe

Knuckler is a terrific book about one of baseball's most underrated pitchers, not to mention baseball's most misunderstood pitch. There are wonderful stories and anecdotes here, but it's also a portrait of a humble, caring man who has carved out a special niche for himself. If you love baseball (not just Red Sox baseball), Knuckler is for you. If you don't care a hang about baseball, but like stories about exceptionally talented people behaving decently, Knuckler is also for you. And if you're sick to death of sports stories about athletes behaving badly, Tim Wakefield's book is the perfect antidote.” –Stephen King

“To read Knuckler is to appreciate that there is no gimmick, no fluke, no chance to Tim Wakefield approaching 200 wins and 20 major league seasons. This book is about resiliency, diligence and the tunnel vision required to live by what appears to be the most fanciful pitch thrown by man." –Peter Gammons, MLB baseball analyst and member of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame

"Tim Wakefield’s Knuckler is a fastball right down the middle of the plate. It is an honest, straightforward and very enjoyable account of the national pastime.”  –Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner of Baseball

"I have always admired Tim Wakefield, as he plays baseball with a great deal of integrity, the way the game should be played.  Knuckler gives readers a rare glimpse at the man behind the baseball and his remarkable work on and off the field."  –Carlton Fisk, Hall of Fame catcher

"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." –Publishers Weekly

"Provides valuable insights on perseverance, professionalism, and the ability to forget the last pitch." –Library Journal