MELBOURNE, Fla. — At their regular meeting Tuesday evening, Melbourne City Council members approved a resolution to change the name of Crane Field Park to honor long-time Major League Baseball pitcher and native Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield passed away on October 1 at the age of 57. He was born in Melbourne in 1966 then attended and played baseball at Eau Gallie High School and the Florida Institute of Technology until he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 200th overall pick of the 1988 MLB draft.
Noted for his mastery of the rarely-used “knuckleball” pitch, Wakefield is most remembered for his 17 years playing for the Boston Red Sox, ranking third in career wins for the franchise behind only Roger Clemens and Cy Young.
Despite his fame, Melbourne officials noted Wakefield was known for his dedication to his hometown. He served on the Florida Institute of Technology’s Board of Trustees since 2014 and received an honorary degree for his humanitarian projects.
Wakefield hosted an annual celebrity golf tournament benefiting Melbourne’s Space Coast Discovery, which was once known as the Space Coast Early Intervention Center. He was also dedicated to serving children in the Boston community through programs like New England’s “Pitching in for Kids” and the “Wakefield Warriors” program.
“Tim Wakefield was a giving man who was dedicated to service, his family, children’s programs, and service to the community,” the resolution stated. “The renaming of Crane Field Park in honor of Mr. Wakefield will provide a long-lasting and permanent testament to Mr. Wakefield’s commitment to children, his community, and the City of Melbourne.”
The Tim Wakefield Sports Complex is located at 1550 Mosswood Drive. It features two baseball fields, a softball field, a basketball court, and a multi-purpose field.
Crane field was originally named in 1956 for the late Cecil Crane, who was elected to the City Council in 1951 and helped bring athletic events to Eau Gallie. With the passing of the resolution, one of the fields at the Wakefield Sports Complex was also renamed Cecil Crane Field to continue to honor his legacy.
The names of the Crane Community Center and Pieloch Dog Park will not be changed.
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