Tek, Wakefield to enter Red Sox Hall of Fame

Championship contributors joined by former team president Lucchino, late player Flagstead

January 11th, 2016

BOSTON -- Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, two invaluable members of Boston's 2004 World Series championship team, have been elected as 2016 Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees. Outfielder Ira Flagstead -- a defensive specialist from the 1920s -- is the third player in this year's class, which also includes former club president/CEO Larry Lucchino.
The newest members will be honored on May 19 at an awards gala hosted by the Red Sox Foundation, and then will be celebrated as part of a pregame ceremony on May 20 at Fenway Park before the Red Sox host the Indians.
David Ortiz's game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Championship Series against the Tigers will also be recognized during the festivities as the "Great Red Sox Moment."
A 14-person panel -- made up of club executives, media members, booster club representatives and historians -- is responsible for selecting inductees to the Red Sox Hall of Fame, the vote for which takes place every other year.
• Red Sox Hall of Fame
Varitek and Wakefield, who both announced their retirement in Spring Training 2012, have remained fixtures in the organization and good friends.
"It's a huge honor. I'm over-the-moon excited about it," said Wakefield. "It's an honor, and I'm proud to be going in with Tek as well. He and I were teammates for 15 years."
In his role as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Varitek has kept his hand in various aspects of the organization and could be a manager at some point if he chooses that path.
"Having been a part of the front office and having the ability to still get on the field everywhere that I go, I know I have more impact on the field," Varitek said. "Where that role takes me, through time, I'm not positive when that will be, but I think my greatest impact to give back to the game is on the field."
Varitek came to Boston along with Derek Lowe on July 31, 1997, in a trade for Heathcliff Slocumb, a deal that is regarded as one of the best in Red Sox history.
A switch-hitter with power, Varitek was also a rock behind the plate -- one who developed a strong rapport with nearly every pitcher with whom he worked as he caught a record four no-hitters (Hideo Nomo, Lowe, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester) for Boston between 2001 and '08.
The Red Sox named Varitek their captain for the 2005 season, and he helped the club win another World Series in '07.
Varitek was the classic case of a player who couldn't truly be measured by his numbers.
"I think the biggest thing that can be measured, and this isn't necessarily by me, is the opportunity that you have with a team to win a few championships," said Varitek. "That's the biggest measuring key that you have as a team."
Varitek, who will be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame next year, played in Boston from 1997-2011 and was a three-time All-Star, former Gold Glove Award and Sliver Slugger Award winner.
The Red Sox got knuckleballer Wakefield in 1995 after he was released by the Pirates, and the right-hander would emerge as one of the most accomplished pitchers in team history.
When the Red Sox were getting crushed by the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, Wakefield selflessly gave up his start for Game 4 and mopped up in relief to preserve the rest of the bullpen. Boston came back to win the next four games, becoming the first team in history to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a postseason series.
A 200-game winner, Wakefield played with the Red Sox for 17 seasons (1995-2011), the most in club history, and he finished as the franchise leader in starts (430) and innings pitched (3,006). Wakefield won two World Series rings with Boston and is the only Red Sox pitcher to make at least 200 starts and 150 relief appearances with the team.
Since 2013, Wakefield has served as honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation and a special assignment instructor. He also does pregame and postgame analysis for NESN.
"I couldn't have asked for a better position to be in for life after baseball," said Wakefield. "To still be with the organization that I played with and to have some great roles with -- not only the TV side but also the club side -- being a special assignment instructor as well as an honorary chairman of the foundation, which is the best foundation in all of sports, and to give back analytically on the TV side for NESN."
Lucchino recently stepped down as president and CEO of the Red Sox after serving 14 years in that post -- a span in which the club made seven postseason appearances and won three World Series championships. Led in large part by Lucchino, the Red Sox made major renovations to Fenway Park and set the Major League record for consecutive sellouts at 820.
Currently, Lucchino serves as president/CEO emeritus for the Red Sox. He is also the chairman of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, and he is in the process of helping that franchise get a new ballpark.
Flagstead spent seven seasons in Boston from 1923-29. He led all outfielders with 115 assists during his time with the Red Sox. Flagstead's most memorable feat came on Patriots' Day in 1926, when he started three double plays from center field. He passed away due to illness in 1939 at the age of 46.