Former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has been diagnosed with brain cancer while his wife Stacy is fighting pancreatic cancer – developments shared publicly without their permission, the organization said in a Thursday release.

Illness Baseball

Former Boston Red Sox player Tim Wakefield looks on before the start of a game between the Red Sox and Oakland at Fenway Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Mary Schwalm/Associated Press file

The statement from the Red Sox comes after Wakefield’s ex-teammate, Curt Schilling, brought the illnesses to light on his podcast Wednesday night.

“We are aware of the statements and inquiries about the health of Tim and Stacy Wakefield. Unfortunately, this information has been shared publicly without their permission,” the statement reads. “Their health is a deeply personal matter they intended to keep private as they navigate treatment and work to tackle this disease. Tim and Stacy are appreciative of the support and love that has always been extended to them and respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”

Schilling, on his podcast, acknowledged he never received approval from Wakefield to share the news before proceeding to do so, anyway.

“This is not a message that Tim has asked anyone to share, and I don’t even know if he wants it shared,” he said, “but as a Christian, and as a man of faith, I have seen prayer work, so I am going to talk about it.”

“Tim’s wife, Stacy, who is one of the nicest women you’ll ever meet, is very sick with pancreatic cancer,” he continued. “Recently, Tim was diagnosed with a very serious, a very aggressive form of brain cancer.”


Schilling and Wakefield played together in Boston for four seasons, helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Schilling retired in 2009, and Wakefield, a 17-year member of the organization, called it a career two years later and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2016.

Wakefield, 57, has remained active in Boston, serving as a Red Sox analyst on NESN since 2012 and engaging in charitable efforts across the city with the Red Sox Foundation.

Schilling’s retirement has been muddied by some of his comments, including being fired by ESPN in 2016 as a game and studio analyst for posting a message the company deemed insensitive regarding transgender bathroom laws.

His leak about the Wakefields has generated blowback on social media, including Catherine Varitek, wife of former teammate Jason Varitek, posting “… that wasn’t your place!” on X, the former Twitter platform.

Schilling said he and Wakefield talk “on and off … enough to stay in touch.” He did not mention when the last time the two spoke, saying he talked on Tuesday with Doug Mirabelli, who specifically served as Wakefield’s catcher.

Wakefield has had surgery, Schilling said, adding he hopes bringing up the cancer diagnosis will lead to an outpouring of support for his former teammate.

Schilling in August 2014 revealed he had been suffering from oral cancer – the result of a 30-year chewing tobacco habit he said he wishes he never began. He told a local sports talk show he kept his diagnosis under wraps for months – he was diagnosed that February – because “I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me,” and because he didn’t want to become part of the chewing tobacco debate.

“I remember when I was sick the things that happened to me, and the people who reached out to me, it was always a good thing, always made my heart feel good to know someone that I hadn’t spoken to was still thinking of me,” Schilling said on his podcast Wednesday. “I wanted to say and do this for that reason. I wanted Tim and Stacy to know that we’re obviously praying for them, we’re thinking of them.”

Wakefield retired in 2012 with a 200-192 record and 4.41 ERA in more than 3,000 major league innings.

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