Jon Lester announces his retirement

Van Everyman

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Wow, great career. Does he have a chance at the Hall? From that article:

Lester is one of only nine modern left-handers with 200 wins, a .600 winning percentage and a career ERA under 4.00. Six of the other eight are in the Hall of Fame, while one, CC Sabathia, isn't eligible yet.
Also, a no-hitter, three rings, 2.51 postseason ERA and 5 All-Star appearances.
 

lexrageorge

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Wrote this on another thread. But does he have a chance at the Hall? From that article:



Also, a no-hitter, three rings, 2.51 postseason ERA and 5 All-Star appearances.
It's an interesting discussion. But, consider:

Player A: 256-153, 3.85 ERA, 3316 IP, 3.74 FIP, 117 ERA+, 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.351 WHIP, 60.7 bWAR, 68.2 fWAR

Player B: 200-117, 3.66 ERA, 2740 IP, 3.78 FIP, 117 ERA+, 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.278 WHIP, 44.3 bWAR, 46.2 fWAR

Player A: Andy Pettite. So far, has reached 9.9% and 13.7% of ballot despite 5 World Series rings.

Player B: Jon Lester
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's an interesting discussion. But, consider:

Player A: 256-153, 3.85 ERA, 3316 IP, 3.74 FIP, 117 ERA+, 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.351 WHIP, 60.7 bWAR, 68.2 fWAR

Player B: 200-117, 3.66 ERA, 2740 IP, 3.78 FIP, 117 ERA+, 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.278 WHIP, 44.3 bWAR, 46.2 fWAR

Player A: Andy Pettite. So far, has reached 9.9% and 13.7% of ballot despite 5 World Series rings.

Player B: Jon Lester
Player A does have a PED ding on his record which could explain his ballot results so far. That said, Lester is an interesting case but one that I think falls short.
 

BaseballJones

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I only wish Lester had spent his entire career with Boston. Loved him as a pitcher. Gritty. Talented. Tough as nails. Congratulations, Jon - a retirement well earned.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Does the lockout really prevent such a ceremonial thing? Aren't those one-day deals basically just paid appearances? Not like anyone ever actually plays on that one day.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Does the lockout really prevent such a ceremonial thing? Aren't those one-day deals basically just paid appearances? Not like anyone ever actually plays on that one day.
It does because the lockout means teams and players aren't communicating/negotiating at all. Unless Lester is going to sign a minor league deal in order to retire as a Red Sox (since minor leaguers aren't locked out), it won't be done.

That said, I don't expect there's any desire at all on Lester's part to do it anyway. He played as many seasons out of Boston as he did in Boston, and they didn't exactly part on the best of terms.
 

Manuel Aristides

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The best homegrown starter of the Henry era, right? Not really even close. The WS clincher was the ultimate feel good story after his recovery. I'm not going to cross reference the 1907/08 Chicago rosters against the Boston ones of the era, but, Lester is one of the only players in baseball history to win titles with both the Red Sox and Cubs (John Lackey, lol, and David Ross are the only other ones unless there's a turn-of-the-last-century guy in there).
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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200 game winners will be soon thought of the way 300 game winners used to be.

Great career- I don’t think he’s a HOFer compared to those who came before him, but he’s got a case among his peers and those who will come after him.

ERA is too high, but counting stats, record, post-season success, 5 top five CYA finishes, 6 ASG’s are compelling.

His comps are Gooden, Cone, Hudson, Verlander, Halladay, Jimmy Key, Greinke, Hamels…pretty good company.
 

pokey_reese

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Happy to see him go out on his terms, after making 28 starts. Last few years weren't great by his (or most) standards, but he took the ball every damn time and gave you a fighting chance out there. From 2008 until the covid-shortened season, he made over 30 starts twelve straight years, which is insane. I flew down to STL to watch him pitch in the 2013 WS, and it was a truly masterful performance, even the Cards fans were grudgingly giving him credit for shutting them down.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Player A does have a PED ding on his record which could explain his ballot results so far. That said, Lester is an interesting case but one that I think falls short.
The PED was my initial thought as well. The way I look at it is if is MY initial thought it also has to be on the minds of the voters.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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I don't think he gets in, but he does deserve consideration. His postseason numbers, especially his WS numbers, are really good, and he's in the top 100 all time in a few different categories (winning percentage, K's per 9, strikeouts). I dont think it is enough to get him in though. He's a charter member of the Hall of Very Good.
 

donutogre

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I had been meaning to write a post about Lester in the "Red Sox player you cared about most" thread. I think for me, it's Lester. I've always enjoyed the pitching part of the game the most, and seeing him come up, struggle a bit in 2006 and 2007 (with good reason, considering he freaking beat back cancer) and then blossom into a full-on stud in 2008 was amazing. The no-hitter was the pinnacle of his early career, as he made it back from injury to not just be an effective pitcher but one of the best in the game.

He was always incredibly easy to root for, our version of Pedroia on the mound (not so much in demeanor, but in that he was a home-grown guy who became one of the best at the position and was a rock for years). He's the only player I ever bought a jersey for, and it gutted me when they traded him. Seeing him come back from a shitty 2012 to being an absolute horse in 2013 (particularly the postseason) was just huge. To think he would be gone less than a year later is a real bummer, but that's how the game works now.

While I hated him leaving, I love the fact that he continued to find success in Chicago and helped lead that team to a World Series, too. I agree that he's just a "hall of very good" kind of guy most likely, he's still the best home-grown Red Sox pitcher we've seen in decades.

Congrats on your retirement, Jon!
 

donutogre

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Thank you for everything, Lester. The game that I remember the most, apart from the playoff games, was his absolute gem on May 3rd, 2014 against Oakland when he pitched 8 ip of 1h ball to the tune of 15 strikeouts. He was unbelievable that day.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS201405030.shtml
He had a few gems against the Yankees, too, including this beast of a game. Talk about cruising: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA200807030.shtml
 

tims4wins

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He had a lousy first half of 2013, but man he was great in the second half and then the playoffs:
April-June: 4.61 ERA, .743 OPS against
July-Sept: 2.89 ERA, .663 OPS against
Playoffs: 1.56 ERA, .560 OPS against

His playoff run that year:
5G, 4-1, 34.2 IP (would be unheard of in 2021), 25 H, 29:8 K:BB, 2 HBP, 1.56 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
 

Monbonthbump

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Who cares about HOF? He battled cancer and pitched for 16 years in the big leagues. He will always be a winner to me. Enjoy your retirement, Big Guy.
 

BaseballJones

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Red Sox: 110-63 (.636), 3.64 era
Cubs: 77-44 (.636), 3.64 era
That's really amazing and cool. Stretching it out further...

Career: 200-117 (.631), 3.66 era, 1.28 whip, 8.2 k/9
Boston: 110-63 (.636), 3.64 era, 1.29 whip, 8.2 k/9
Chicago: 77-44 (.636), 3.64 era, 1.25 whip, 8.4 k/9
Elsewhere: 13-10 (.565), 3.88 era, 1.36 whip, 6.7 k/9

So he's been pretty darned consistent throughout his entire career, really.
 

donutogre

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He had a lousy first half of 2013, but man he was great in the second half and then the playoffs:
April-June: 4.61 ERA, .743 OPS against
July-Sept: 2.89 ERA, .663 OPS against
Playoffs: 1.56 ERA, .560 OPS against

His playoff run that year:
5G, 4-1, 34.2 IP (would be unheard of in 2021), 25 H, 29:8 K:BB, 2 HBP, 1.56 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
Pitched into the 8th in three of his five starts that postseason, pretty huge stuff right there.

His playoff run with Chicago in 2016 was also pretty damn impressive... 3 big innings of relief in game 7 after pitching a very solid win a few days earlier in game 6.
 

jtn46

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Who cares about HOF? He battled cancer and pitched for 16 years in the big leagues. He will always be a winner to me. Enjoy your retirement, Big Guy.
Yeah agreed.

One of my favorite players ever, when he was called up he was wild, couldn't pitch deep into games and then got sidetracked by cancer, but came back and developed into a great pitcher. It was a bummer that he left but I'm glad he ultimately had a very rewarding career.
 

RobertS975

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Red Sox: 110-63 (.636), 3.64 era
Cubs: 77-44 (.636), 3.64 era
Clear evidence that his best years weren't behind him when we traded him that July. I went to his last game at Fenway... when he walked off at the end of the top of the 7th, a shutout going IIRC, we knew we had seen his last start at home.
I was always a fan of his game, even as a Cub.

As for eventually making it to the HOF, I think his dozen years of consistency and incredible post season stats, 3 rings... it is a powerful record.
 

Ale Xander

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Sad morning, but good for him.

He battled cancer and won.
He battled the Yankees and Cardinals (and other teams) and won.

My favorite post-Pedro pitcher.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think at 44.2 career WAR he comes up short for the Hall of Fame. Kevin Appier has more, for example.

At the same time, what a helluva career he had. 200 wins, 3 WS titles, 16 years. Wonderful. I was there for his no-no in 2008. What an electric experience.
 

RG33

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The guy was an absolute beast. Big game pitcher. Great fucking teammate. Kicked cancer's ass. The exact kind of guy you want on your team.

Enjoy your retirement Jon. Thanks for WS titles.
 

Kliq

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Love Jon Lester. Maybe just a tier below the truly elite pitchers of his era, but an absolute HORSE in an era where that kind of pitcher was going away. No less than 191 IPs for his last seven seasons in Boston. They didn't want to pay him and unfortunately he went to Chicago, and he averaged 192 IPs with an ERA+ of 124 for his first five seasons with the Cubs.

With the possible exception of Bumgarner, there is no pitcher from that generation that I'd rather have on the hill in a big game then Lester. Career ERA of 2.51 in the postseason, and 1.77 in the World Series.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Yeah, he's not a Hall of Famer.

Starters voted in by the writers so far this century:

Mike Mussina 270 wins, 3.68 ERA, 2,813 Ks, 123 ERA+, 82.8 WAR
Roy Halladay 203 wins, 3.38 ERA, 2,117 Ks, 131 ERA+, 65.4 WAR, 2 Cy Youngs
John Smoltz 213 wins, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 Ks, 125 ERA+, 66.4 WAR, 1 Cy Young
Pedro Martinez 219 wins, 2.93 ERA, 3,154 Ks, 154 ERA+, 86.1 WAR, 3 Cy Youngs
Randy Johnson 303 wins, 3.29 ERA, 4,875 Ks, 135 ERA+, 103.5 WAR, 5 Cy Youngs
Greg Maddux 355 wins, 3.16 ERA, 3,371 Ks, 132 ERA+, 104.8 WAR, 4 Cy Youngs
Tom Glavine 305 wins, 3.54 ERA, 2,607 Ks, 118 ERA+, 73.9 WR, 2 Cy Youngs
Bert Blyleven 287 wins, 3.31 ERA, 3,701 Ks, 118 ERA+, 96.1 WAR

Jon Lester 200 wins, 3.66 ERA, 2,488 Ks, 117 ERA+, 44.3 WAR

The way starters are used these days is obviously different than when Blyleven pitched, but Lester did overlap with most of these guys at least early in his career. He was obviously a very important piece of several championship teams and had a great post-season record, but he also comes up a bit short in the "Fame" category as well. Its not like there was ever a point where he was a particularly famous baseball player in the way that some other marginal Hall of Famers like Jack Morris or Catfish Hunter were.
 
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Smiling Joe Hesketh

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One of the most interesting things about Lester's career is that after 2007 he was actually considered a guy who wasn't good in the clutch. He lost three straight playoff games in 2008-2009 where he wasn't terrible, just not good enough. There was talk he wasn't a big game guy.

And of course the 2011 debacle, although he didn't play a huge part in that. Then 2013 came around and he put all of that to bed. It's a good lesson not to let a few games become the definition of a player's career. See Price, David, and Elway, John.
 

Norm Siebern

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When I saw the thread re. the Red Sox player you cared for, Jon Lester was the first that came to my mind. We share the fortunate designation of cancer survivor and i know that his bull dogged stubbornness in competition stems in great part from that. He has been an inspiration in my life and for that I am thankful. Wishing him nothing but enjoyment, peace and continued good health.
 

section15

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Thank you for everything, Lester. The game that I remember the most, apart from the playoff games, was his absolute gem on May 3rd, 2014 against Oakland when he pitched 8 ip of 1h ball to the tune of 15 strikeouts. He was unbelievable that day.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS201405030.shtml

I remember that, but in 2008, he had a similar outing - I recall, saying to one of the ushers, we're gonna talk about this one for years, what a GEM! And then,,,, and then... the no-hitter.
 
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LogansDad

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When I saw the thread re. the Red Sox player you cared for, Jon Lester was the first that came to my mind. We share the fortunate designation of cancer survivor and i know that his bull dogged stubbornness in competition stems in great part from that. He has been an inspiration in my life and for that I am thankful. Wishing him nothing but enjoyment, peace and continued good health.
He threw his no-hitter on the day (no joke) that the doctors I was seeing on my base in Kuwait diagnosed me with a mass that was taking up about 60% of my right kidney. They didn't biopsy it, that day, but told me it was likely cancer and they were getting me a flight out to Germany to have my kidney removed. I turned out to be not cancer (thankfully, I guess, but it was MRSA and I almost died on the operating table when my kidney disintegrated from the infection), but it was pretty incredible that a guy, who was already one of my favorite players in the league, happened to throw a no-hitter on that particular day.

He would get my Hall of Fame vote. But I definitely think he is a long shot to get in.
 

BaseballJones

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Lester isn't a HOFer in my eyes. I guess I'm a "small hall" kind of guy, compared to some others. Very good pitcher. Excellent postseason pitcher, obviously. Great story. Wonderful career. Just not quite HOF level.
 

Oil Can Dan

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I have five Red Sox players 16x20's hanging in my man-cave: Yaz, Nomar, Pedro, Papi and Lester. As a fellow Hodgkins survivor I've always had much love and respect for Lester. I'm thankful for the memories and I hope to see him at Fenway like some other Red Sox greats over the coming years...
 

BringBackMo

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Who cares about HOF? He battled cancer and pitched for 16 years in the big leagues. He will always be a winner to me. Enjoy your retirement, Big Guy.
Don't see what's wrong with discussing his candidacy. It's an honor that he's in the discussion, and it takes nothing away from the fact that he survived cancer or pitched for a long time in the majors. Everyone here loves him.
 
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BringBackMo

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Does he remain one of ours--a la Paul Pierce? Or do the Cubs now have a legitimate claim to his legacy--a la Fisk? I know the players no longer get to decide, but if he did make the Hall, which cap would he want to wear?
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Does he remain one of ours--a la Paul Pierce? Or do the Cubs now have a legitimate claim to his legacy--a la Fisk? I know the players no longer get to decide, but if he did make the Hall, which cap would he want to wear?
Pierce played a vast majority of his career in Boston
Lester played just over half his career here. I think the Cubs can claim him. We'll see about a hat if it gets to there
 

Van Everyman

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That said, I don't expect there's any desire at all on Lester's part to do it anyway. He played as many seasons out of Boston as he did in Boston, and they didn't exactly part on the best of terms.
Is the bolded true? I know Larry lowballed him supposedly, but after trading him to Oakland the Red Sox were in active negotiations that offseason IIRC to re-sign him, and he just chose the Cubs thinking he might enjoy the challenge and fresh start.
 

brs3

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He should be added to the Red Sox Hall of Fame as soon as possible and invited back early and often. If the Boston & Chicago writers vote for him for the HoF, that's good enough. He's a Boston legend, and it'll be nice to think of the good ol days every time he visits Boston.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I loved Lester and was horrified by the reports of him being included in a deal to get Johann Santana. Best deals are often the ones not made, blah blah blah... but that was definitely a good call.
Was pushing towards letting him walk (and supported the deal to Oakland), not resign him because I thought the Sox were going all in after Scherzer that offseason which clearly would have been the best choice. Instead it really ended up being David Price as his eventual replacement which, despite Price being a Sox hero for the '18 WS team... Lester likely would have been the best signing. I'm sure there's peripheral things in that either/or that I'm missing though.
Scherzer > Lester > Price