Jon Lester announces his retirement

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Congrats and thanks for the memories. Helluva ride and made enough dough to know his grandkids can live their best life ever as well. Legacy.
 

Daniel_Son

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I know his numbers don't quite stack up to HoF standards, but I really hope he gets consideration beyond the numbers. Instrumental part on three championship teams, one of which ended a 107-year drought. The cancer comeback, the no-hitter... if there was ever a guy who got in on intangibles alone, it's him.
 

Leather

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Excellent pitcher. Had some sterling moments. Great career.

On a personal level, perhaps my least enjoyable day at the ballpark was the day the news broke he had cancer. I was visiting my family back in MA, and the game was originally scheduled for 7:05 but they made a decision at about 10:00 AM to move it to a 1 PM start (this was pre twitter so I only found out when I looked up the game online to see who was starting) because of crappy, cold, weather and it being late in the season so no makeup was likely. They lost, the weather sucked, and a huge pall hung over the whole stadium because of the Lester news. Made the win in 2007, with Lester getting a win in Game 4 of the WS, that much more meaningful.

That said, he's not a HOFer. He's in the same tier as guys like Tim Hudson and Mark Buehrle; often among the top tier of guys for their era, and certainly memorable, but not an all-time great.
 

Remagellan

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Sign him to a one day deal and let him retire a Red Sox, if he's so inclined
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.

Totally agree!
 

snowmanny

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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.
[/QUOTE]
He was in the MLBPA-vetoed ARod deal.

Really one of my favorite players ever. Only athlete whose picture I ever had up in my office. A really really really good pitcher who came up with the team, never got hurt, persevered. Letting him go really upset me and I must have 100 posts about that. I remember asking circa 2006 what if he turns out better than Buchholz, Hughes and Chamberlain and it being laughed off as an impossibility. Just a great career and a joy to root for.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The starting pitcher criteria is going to have to soften at some point. Maybe we start with Lester.
I agree that the criteria is going to soften, but it's hard to see it starting with Lester when he has contemporaries like Scherzer, Verlander, Greinke, and Kershaw, all of whom earned more individual honors (awards, all star selections, leading the league in particular stats, etc) and have accrued significantly more WAR in similar length careers.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The fact that he won Game 4 of the 07 World Series the day my oldest daughter was born made me a Jon Lester fan. Sometimes he was kind of a pain in the ass when he hung out with the wrong dudes, but watching him pitch was usually pretty good. Probably the best pitcher to come up through the Sox farm system since Clemens?

Won't go into Cooperstown, but I bet that the Sox induct him into their Hall of Fame within two years. Hope he sticks around as a Sox ambassador. Good guy to have on your staff, that's for sure.
 

donutogre

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Worth noting (or maybe nothing) that the Cubs already put something on their Twitter thanking him for all his contributions to the club (and saying they are lucky to have him in the Cubs family, present tense). No such message from the Red Sox yet; they simply reposted the report on their home page from MLB.com's Cubs beat writer.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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He was in the MLBPA-vetoed ARod deal.

Really one of my favorite players ever. Only athlete whose picture I ever had up in my office. A really really really good pitcher who came up with the team, never got hurt, persevered. Letting him go really upset me and I must have 100 posts about that. I remember asking circa 2006 what if he turns out better than Buchholz, Hughes and Chamberlain and it being laughed off as an impossibility. Just a great career and a joy to root for.
[/QUOTE]

That too... and there wasn't many (if there were any I don't recall) opposed to the deal at the time---- for the ARod deal. Lester must have just been an 18 YO then.
But he was being discussed as being the centerpiece of the Santana deal too and it was generally around 50/50 pro/anti deal. There were variations on Lester/Papelbon/Sanchez/Pedroia as the centerpiece.
While I was firmly in the "anti trade" group.... I thought that Sanchez would eventually be the better pitcher and came out of the gates as the better.
 

sheamonu

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A big thank you and a "well done" to someone who brought a lot to the table but somehow still managed to overachieve. Sometimes I think that is an underappreciated measure of success. A John Elway type - a guy who has all the tools and doesn't make the fatal mistake of taking any of them for granted. I think of Lester that way - you knew he was really good - and he didn't waste an ounce of that talent. That's admirable.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I'm thinking Lester falls squarely on the fence from the future version of the Veterans/Era Committee for the HOF. During his eligibility for the writers' vote he probably won't be close as it is his contemporaries that will be used as comparison. But 30+ years from now his win totals, championships and backstory from the start of his career, looking well into the past from an evolved era of pitching, will definitely be a good sell for that group.
 

DourDoerr

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Great pitcher - big thanks for the rings. Doesn't seem to be a HOF'er even though I'm a homer. If he could have turned those two 19 win seasons into 20 win seasons and turned the 2nd place CY into a CYA, then he'd have more appeal - certainly to the Vet Committee someday.

Out here in the Bay Area, his 1 playoff game was a big disappointment. They picked him up in 2014 for the stretch and he was excellent. That team was good and they were jacked that they had JL for the one-game playoff as he was nails the season before and a stud all season. That's baseball - he went 7 innings and gave up 6 earned runs and it was over for the A's. That game was honestly shocking - he had really transformed his image over the year.

Won 200 games and Baseball Ref has his career earnings at around $198 million, so $1,000,000 per win. That's going to look like a bargain someday (and probably already does).
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I recall that Lester was in the Santana deal for about 12 minutes, and that internal staff convinced the brass to pull him back before the Twins circled back on a trade including him. Thankfully.
 
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Manramsclan

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Thanks Jon Lester!

What a great career. After the 2012 debacle he was the most accountable publicly for what went down. I had a lot of respect for him for that which begat this exchange.

48281
 

koufax32

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Watching his no hitter while simultaneously engaging in the game thread made me a crying, blubbering mess the whole 9th inning. What a surreal experience that was.
 

chrisfont9

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His Sox years were of a HOF trajectory, and for all the reasons stated above, any true Sox fan has to love the guy. He was a true ace in the postseason, like Beckett in '07.

But did the Sox "blow it," as Henry says, with their extension offer? In nine seasons with the Sox (which is the equivalent of 8 since his first two seasons were abbreviated at the ML level), he racked up 29.9 bWAR. In six years with the Cubs, he accumulated 13.2 bWAR, including 12 in the first four seasons of that contract. Recall, the Sox offered $70m for those four years, and the Cubs paid him $155m for those six years. Using the cost of $9m/bWAR (it fluctuates but that's pretty close), that Sox deal would have been an underpay of $28m -- but the four year contract was exactly the right length. Lester's last two seasons were 1.4 WAR and -0.2. The Cubs overpaid by two years and some $35m, give or take.

Lester was terrific in the postseason for the Cubs for three of his four postseason campaigns, only stalling out a bit in 2015. So on that basis alone, I am sure the Cubs feel like it was a good deal. Add in those numbers, all in the four years that would have been covered by the Sox contract, and yeah, they really did end up lowballing him. The Sox *did* get the length right from their POV, though even there the two extra years are just the bonus for getting a postseason ace, a rare commodity, or at least for not insulting a guy who had given you his all -- and some $270m worth of bWAR value for a paltry 5/$30m extension following his early pre-arb/arb salaries.

Back in time, there was some reporting that the Sox probably could have retained Lester if they had offered him 5/$120. In those five seasons, Lester accumulated 13.4 bWAR, putting that value at roughly ... $120.6m. In other words, had they offered him the EXACT RIGHT years and dollars, he probably would have accepted it and fulfilled it in a way that would have had everyone celebrating it in hindsight as a model contract. Now I sort of regret looking up this stuff.

Anyway, he's worthy of all the praise he's getting here. Shout out to Tacoma, just down the road from here. As much as Washington sounds like a rainy, crappy place for kids to grow into ballplayers, the reality is that you can play some 10 months a year comfortably. Lots of talent around here these days, I hear.
 

jon abbey

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Great pitcher - big thanks for the rings. Doesn't seem to be a HOF'er even though I'm a homer. If he could have turned those two 19 win seasons into 20 win seasons and turned the 2nd place CY into a CYA, then he'd have more appeal - certainly to the Vet Committee someday.

Out here in the Bay Area, his 1 playoff game was a big disappointment. They picked him up in 2014 for the stretch and he was excellent. That team was good and they were jacked that they had JL for the one-game playoff as he was nails the season before and a stud all season. That's baseball - he went 7 innings and gave up 6 earned runs and it was over for the A's. That game was honestly shocking - he had really transformed his image over the year.
That’s a little bit unfair, Lester was up 7-3 through 7 over a team about to win back to back AL pennants. They kept him in for the 8th, he gave up two ground ball singles and a walk while only getting one out, and left still up 7-4, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Nice piece on Lester from CBSSports

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/is-jon-lester-a-hall-of-famer-how-postseason-greatness-gives-him-a-chance-at-cooperstown/

Same conclusion as many of us here-close but no cigar. But the piece does play up his postseason numbers, which really were outstanding:

I don't think anyone would doubt he's short of the Hall on the regular season alone, but in the postseason he had a 2.51 ERA in 154 innings with a 1.02 WHIP. He's ninth career in both playoff innings and strikeouts. In six career World Series appearances, he went 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 34 strikeouts against eight walks in 35 2/3 innings. He won three rings, and on two of those teams he was the backbone of the rotation. Will that and his story push him up a bit?
The Rockies and Cardinals teams he pitched against in the WS were both absolutely loaded offensively (top 1 or 2 NL offenses those years), and the 2016 Indians were a top 5 offensive team in the AL.
 

DourDoerr

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That’s a little bit unfair, Lester was up 7-3 through 7 over a team about to win back to back AL pennants. They kept him in for the 8th, he gave up two ground ball singles and a walk while only getting one out, and left still up 7-4, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it.
You're right. Reading my post again, it implied he gave it all up from the outset. Lester didn't shut them down, but pretty much did his job and, as you say, the bullpen blew it. The expectations were high - a measure of his performance the previous year-plus - and it would've been tough to meet them. He came closer than I recalled. The A's fans I knew were very frustrated by the loss and thought they'd had the golden ticket going in.
 

Daniel_Son

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His Sox years were of a HOF trajectory, and for all the reasons stated above, any true Sox fan has to love the guy. He was a true ace in the postseason, like Beckett in '07.

But did the Sox "blow it," as Henry says, with their extension offer? In nine seasons with the Sox (which is the equivalent of 8 since his first two seasons were abbreviated at the ML level), he racked up 29.9 bWAR. In six years with the Cubs, he accumulated 13.2 bWAR, including 12 in the first four seasons of that contract. Recall, the Sox offered $70m for those four years, and the Cubs paid him $155m for those six years. Using the cost of $9m/bWAR (it fluctuates but that's pretty close), that Sox deal would have been an underpay of $28m -- but the four year contract was exactly the right length. Lester's last two seasons were 1.4 WAR and -0.2. The Cubs overpaid by two years and some $35m, give or take.

Lester was terrific in the postseason for the Cubs for three of his four postseason campaigns, only stalling out a bit in 2015. So on that basis alone, I am sure the Cubs feel like it was a good deal. Add in those numbers, all in the four years that would have been covered by the Sox contract, and yeah, they really did end up lowballing him. The Sox *did* get the length right from their POV, though even there the two extra years are just the bonus for getting a postseason ace, a rare commodity, or at least for not insulting a guy who had given you his all -- and some $270m worth of bWAR value for a paltry 5/$30m extension following his early pre-arb/arb salaries.

Back in time, there was some reporting that the Sox probably could have retained Lester if they had offered him 5/$120. In those five seasons, Lester accumulated 13.4 bWAR, putting that value at roughly ... $120.6m. In other words, had they offered him the EXACT RIGHT years and dollars, he probably would have accepted it and fulfilled it in a way that would have had everyone celebrating it in hindsight as a model contract. Now I sort of regret looking up this stuff.

Anyway, he's worthy of all the praise he's getting here. Shout out to Tacoma, just down the road from here. As much as Washington sounds like a rainy, crappy place for kids to grow into ballplayers, the reality is that you can play some 10 months a year comfortably. Lots of talent around here these days, I hear.
Obviously this is a series of hypotheticals, but if the Sox had gotten him for 5/$120, they probably wouldn't have signed Price at 7/$217. Not re-signing Lester was the biggest mistake ownership made in the past decade in my book.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Obviously this is a series of hypotheticals, but if the Sox had gotten him for 5/$120, they probably wouldn't have signed Price at 7/$217. Not re-signing Lester was the biggest mistake ownership made in the past decade in my book.
I was thinking of that earlier- and if you don’t have Price, you either get more for Mookie or don’t have to trade him. Of course, if you never traded Lester, you don’t have Porcello. (Although they could have resigned Lester after trading him,still).
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Love the guy, but Lester isn’t a HoFer. We’ve named others not in. Orel Hershiser?

However, he’s more of a HoFer than, say, Harold Baines. His postseason record/accomplishments are phenomenal.

I can easily see a vets committee admitting him.
 
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Ale Xander

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Love the guy, but Lester isn’t a HoFer imo. However, he’s more of a HoFer than, say, Harold Baines. His postseason record/accomplishments are phenomenal.

I can easily see a vets committee admitting him.
I'm inclined to agree, but postseason heroics seems to matter, perhaps more than for position players.

Lester:
200-117, .631, 3.66, 117 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 2.51 PS ERA in 154 IP, 3 rings, 5x All-Star

Pitcher B, also postseason hero, recent inductee to the HOF via VC
254-186, .577, 3.90, 105 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 3.80 PS ERA in 92 IP, 4 rings, 5x All-Star
 

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I was thinking of that earlier- and if you don’t have Price, you either get more for Mookie or don’t have to trade him. Of course, if you never traded Lester, you don’t have Porcello. (Although they could have resigned Lester after trading him,still).
And if you don't have Price, you might not win the 2018 World Series
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I'm inclined to agree, but postseason heroics seems to matter, perhaps more than for position players.

Lester:
200-117, .631, 3.66, 117 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 2.51 PS ERA in 154 IP, 3 rings, 5x All-Star

Pitcher B, also postseason hero, recent inductee to the HOF via VC
254-186, .577, 3.90, 105 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 3.80 PS ERA in 92 IP, 4 rings, 5x All-Star
Lester was great in the post season, but Schilling was greater. He has better career numbers too. Obviously, Schilling hasn't helped himself in recent years by going insane, but if Schilling never got in before disgracing himself, I don't see how Lester would even get close.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Lester was great in the post season, but Schilling was greater. He has better career numbers too. Obviously, Schilling hasn't helped himself in recent years by going insane, but if Schilling never got in before disgracing himself, I don't see how Lester would even get close.
Because Schilling disgraced himself before the voting started?? Honestly, comparing the two seems… unseemly.
 

E5 Yaz

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I'm inclined to agree, but postseason heroics seems to matter, perhaps more than for position players.

Lester:
200-117, .631, 3.66, 117 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 2.51 PS ERA in 154 IP, 3 rings, 5x All-Star

Pitcher B, also postseason hero, recent inductee to the HOF via VC
254-186, .577, 3.90, 105 ERA+, 3 top-4 CY, 0 CY, 3.80 PS ERA in 92 IP, 4 rings, 5x All-Star
Then again, there's Andy Pettite
 

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CaptainLaddie

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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.
I wish the same.

It's funny because it's easy to forget just how infuriating he was at the start of his career (obviously there was an underlying reason for some of that). All the talent, but so goddamn frustrating. Then... the no-hitter happened and he seemed to transform. A 1.566 WHIP and a 1.46 K/BB in his first two seasons, then a 1.47 WHIP and 1.13 K/BB before the no-hitter.

Rest of that 2008 season after the no-no was a 1.2 WHIP and a 3.21 K/BB. Lester just figured it out that night, I guess? In his first ten starts of the 2008 season, he had six starts with 3 or more walks; starting with the no-no he had 24 starts and six starts with 3 or more walks.

I remember texting with @LTF about Lester and both of us being so frustrated with him -- and then the no-hitter and everything changed.

It's also still really funny that he could not throw over to first later in his career. Or throw to bases in general.
 
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scottyno

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I don’t think this is accurate. Looong history of issues.

https://www.pitcherlist.com/why-curt-schilling-has-no-place-in-cooperstown/

But there was disagreement about whether he was qualified at the outset, on his performance (I thought he was):
https://www.si.com/mlb/2014/12/03/jaws-2015-hall-fame-ballot-curt-schilling

So, cascading problems…
No one was voting for anyone back then unless they were an inner circle guy, or perceived as one, he beat Mussina in the vote for a number of years.
 

drbretto

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I agree he won't get the votes, but I think he belongs. Beat cancer. Beat 2 curses. 200 wins is the new 300. Great postseason numbers. Great attitude. Great dude. Even hit a few memorable bombs.

Slam dunk Red Sox HoFer. Probably Cubs, too. If there was a multiverse where he played this same career for every other team, he'd be in 30 team Hall of Fames.

I'm not going to be sad or disappointed when he doesn't get the votes because that process is stupid. He is in my HoF already.
 

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I wish the same.

It's funny because it's easy to forget just how infuriating he was at the start of his career (obviously there was an underlying reason for some of that). All the talent, but so goddamn frustrating. Then... the no-hitter happened and he seemed to transform. A 1.566 WHIP and a 1.46 K/BB in his first two seasons, then a 1.47 WHIP and 1.13 K/BB before the no-hitter.

Rest of that 2008 season after the no-no was a 1.2 WHIP and a 3.21 K/BB. Lester just figured it out that night, I guess? In his first ten starts of the 2008 season, he had six starts with 3 or more walks; starting with the no-no he had 24 starts and six starts with 3 or more walks.

I remember texting with @LTF about Lester and both of us being so frustrated with him -- and then the no-hitter and everything changed.

It's also still really funny that he could not throw over to first later in his career. Or throw to bases in general.
When he was in Portland I remember going to one of his starts and being so excited to see him dominate.

He got pulled after 75 pitches. In the 3rd inning. He had no command whatsoever.

Pretty remarkable to see him figure that out and make a long and great career afterwards.
 

chrisfont9

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I agree he won't get the votes, but I think he belongs. Beat cancer. Beat 2 curses. 200 wins is the new 300. Great postseason numbers. Great attitude. Great dude. Even hit a few memorable bombs.

Slam dunk Red Sox HoFer. Probably Cubs, too. If there was a multiverse where he played this same career for every other team, he'd be in 30 team Hall of Fames.

I'm not going to be sad or disappointed when he doesn't get the votes because that process is stupid. He is in my HoF already.
I was wondering about the team's HOF, but you are right, he's easily in, among guys like Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk who left town in the middle of their careers. Also his 44 bWAR are... 35 more than Marty Barrett.
 

Leather

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I agree he won't get the votes, but I think he belongs. Beat cancer. Beat 2 curses. 200 wins is the new 300. Great postseason numbers. Great attitude. Great dude. Even hit a few memorable bombs.

Slam dunk Red Sox HoFer. Probably Cubs, too. If there was a multiverse where he played this same career for every other team, he'd be in 30 team Hall of Fames.

I'm not going to be sad or disappointed when he doesn't get the votes because that process is stupid. He is in my HoF already.
Do Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson belong in the HOF? Does Andy Pettitte?

Because Lester's career exists in the same orbit(s) as those guys, and I'd be hard pressed to say with much confidence why one of them belongs while the other three do not.

EDIT: also what was the 2nd curse that Lester helped end? He was in Chicago but didn't pitch in Boston until 2006.
 
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drbretto

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Do Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson belong in the HOF? Does Andy Pettitte?

Because Lester's career exists in the same orbit(s) as those guys, and I'd be hard pressed to say with much confidence why one of them belongs while the other three do not.

EDIT: also what was the 2nd curse that Lester helped end? He was in Chicago but didn't pitch in Boston until 2006.
Sure, sure and sure. I read the thread, I saw the comps. I am generally in favor the Hall being more inclusive and more about the story of baseball than a collection of stats.

But yeah, faulty memory on the curses. I'm getting old. He's still in my personal Hall.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I don’t know if he exists complexly in the same orbit as guys who retired 7 years earlier, but his postseason success is much more significant than Buehrle and Hudson, at least. Lester would be a better choice than Jack Morris, at least.

Of Lester’s peers, I think Verlander, Scherzer, Greinke and Kershaw are clearly HOFers. Wainwright is pretty similar to Lester. After that, Gerrit Cole? Sale?

Cole is the only pitcher 30 or younger with over 100 wins (he has 117). After Cole, we’ve got Bauer (83 wins),Teheran (78), Aaron Nola (67), Gausman (64), E-Rod (64), and Martin Perez (63).

Lester seems like a guy who gets in by a veterans committee when 200 wins is suddenly a mark no one will be getting to.
 

Leather

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I don’t know if he exists complexly in the same orbit as guys who retired 7 years earlier, but his postseason success is much more significant than Buehrle and Hudson, at least. Lester would be a better choice than Jack Morris, at least.

Of Lester’s peers, I think Verlander, Scherzer, Greinke and Kershaw are clearly HOFers. Wainwright is pretty similar to Lester. After that, Gerrit Cole? Sale?

Cole is the only pitcher 30 or younger with over 100 wins (he has 117). After Cole, we’ve got Bauer (83 wins),Teheran (78), Aaron Nola (67), Gausman (64), E-Rod (64), and Martin Perez (63).

Lester seems like a guy who gets in by a veterans committee when 200 wins is suddenly a mark no one will be getting to.
n/m I misread the gist of your post.

I think Wainright is a good comp.
 
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Philip Jeff Frye

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I know nobody is arguing that Lester is a slam dunk Hall of Famer, but I think people are underestimating how hard it is for starters to make the Hall of Fame. As I noted above, there have only been eight starters elected by the writers in this century. Jack Morris and now Jim Kaat are the only starters the veterans committees have selected in that period (not counting Negro Leaguers). There were no non-Negro League starters selected at all for the entire period between Nolan Ryan in 1999 and Bert Blyleven in 2011.

Its interesting to note that in the era where the writers elected only 8 starters, they also elected 6 relief pitchers. Maybe the votes have done a better job of adapting to the recent game's evolution than critics might suggest.
 
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Kliq

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I know nobody is arguing that Lester is a slam dunk Hall of Famer, but I think people are underestimating how hard it is for starters to make the Hall of Fame. As I noted above, there have only been eight starters elected by the writers in this century. Jack Morris and now Jim Kaat are the only starters the veterans committees have selected in that period (not counting Negro Leaguers). There were no non-Negro League starters selected at all for the entire period between Nolan Ryan in 1999 and Bert Blyleven in 2011.

Its interesting to note that in the era where the writers elected only 8 starters, they also elected 6 relief pitchers. Maybe the votes have done a better job of adapting to the recent game's evolution than critics might suggest.
Alex Spier wrote about this in the Globe last Sunday; the voting body hasn't done a good job adapting to the statistical standards of the modern game that limits a lot of raw pitching totals. As you mention, there are very few starters to be elected in the last 20 years, and there are no really strong candidates emerging until Sabathia becomes eligible in 2025.
 

Leather

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Semi related but it’s still kind of surprising to me that Johann Santana got no HOF support at all. I’m not saying he belongs, but I think it’s at least debatable, and he got 10 votes.

Just highlights the relatively impossible standards voters have for pitchers. Guy had 2 CY Awards and finished top 5 theee other times (with two of those being top 3). Yeah, his career was a little short but man, only 10 votes? Talk about a victim of a stacked ballot.
 
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Minneapolis Millers

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SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
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Twin Cities
Semi related but it’s still kind of surprising to me that Johann Santana got no HOF support at all. I’m not saying he belongs, but I think it’s at least debatable, and he got 10 votes.

Just highlights the relatively impossible standards voters have for pitchers. Guy had 2 CY Awards and finished top 5 theee other times (with two of those being top 3). Yeah, his career was a little short but man, only 10 votes? Talk about a victim of a stacked ballot.
Good example. Santana could/should have won 3 straight CYs. Probably the best pitcher in baseball for 5 years, but he got hurt and it cut short his career and counting numbers. He also had little post-season success.

The latter point helps distinguish him from someone like Puckett, whose career and counting stats were also shortened by his eye condition. But Puck‘s first ballot induction also supports the narrative that voters have been more generous toward hitters than pitchers.

Separately, if Lester gets in because he had 200 wins, then he better be going in with Wake!