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As the oldest player in the majors last season, he was 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA last season in 23 starts and 10 relief appearances.

“I’m still a competitor, but ultimately I think this is what’s best for the Red Sox,” Wakefield said. “I think this is what’s best for my family. And to be honest with you, seven wins isn’t going to make me a different person or a better man. So, my family really needs me at home.”

Several Red Sox were in attendance at the press conference at Jet Blue Park, the Red Sox new spring training home.

“I was happy to see that he did it the way he wanted to,” starter Jon Lester said. “I don’t think you can ask for anything more than that.”

Lester’s locker has been next to Wakefield’s since Lester broke into the majors in 2006.

“To be honest with you, he was tough,” Lester said of his first impressions of Wakefield. “He’s probably one of the tougher veterans that we had when I first came up and that’s not a bad thing. I think he did a good job of being a tough leader and making sure that he was vocally present.

“He made sure I stayed in line and did the right things both on and off the field. So I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the fact that I got to be a teammate of his, and see him do a lot of great things for this organization both on and off the field. His charitable work is unbelievable.”

Wakefield is well known for his charity endeavors. He has established community service work in his hometown of Melbourne, Fla., as well as in Boston.

Cleveland starter Derek Lowe, who lives in Fort Myers, was a teammate of Wakefield for eight seasons. In Lowe’s last year in Boston _ 2004 _ the two helped the Red Sox to their first World Series crown in 86 years.

“He led by example,” Lowe said. “He was a guy you could look up to, a guy you could talk to.”

Wakefield finished his Red Sox career with a 4.43 ERA. He is first in team history with 3,006 innings and 430 starts, and second in games and strikeouts. For his career, Wakefield was 200-180 with a 4.41 ERA.

On Sept. 13, Wakefield earned his 200th win on his eighth try, in an 18-6 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Wakefield went six innings and overcame a shaky outing to retire his final six batters. He left with a 6-5 lead after allowing six hits and two walks. He struck out two.

The following day, prior to a matinee game with Toronto, he was honored for his accomplishment.

It turned out to be his last victory.