Jon Lester announced his retirement today after a 16 year Major League career. Lester pitched for the Cubs for 6 years, beginning in 2015 following Rick Renteria’s last year as the manager. Joining Joe Maddon, Lester would be instrumental in the Cubs’ success from 2015 through 2020.
In an interview with ESPN, Jon Lester said, “It’s getting harder for me physically. The little things that come up throughout the year turned into bigger things that hinder your performance.” Excluding the 2020 pandemic season, Lester had seen his innings drop below 200 innings pitched four years straight. In the 11 previous seasons, Lester had only thrown under 200 innings three times.
The future Hall of Famer won his 200th game with the Cardinals against the Brewers on September 20th, which ended up being his last win. In his regular-season career, Lester finished with a record of 200-117, a 3.66 ERA, and 15 complete games. Jon added a no-hitter on May 19th, 2008 against the Royals. He made five All-Star games and finished runner-up in the 2016 Cy Young race.
In the postseason, Lester was even better. He had nine seasons with playoff appearances, including five starts in the World Series. Lester went 9-7 with a 2.51 ERA in 154 postseason innings pitched. Jon Lester is a 3x World Series Champion. He was part of the Red Sox team that broke the Babe Ruth curse in 2007, the 2013 Red Sox, and the 2016 Cubs. Lester was NLCS MVP for the Cubs during that magical 2016 run.
Off the field, Lester is a great person too. Following his fight against lymphoma, Lester helped to establish the NVRQT (Never Quit) organization. NVRQT helps to support children who are going through a fight against cancer and work towards finding a cure.
Jon Lester brought professionalism and the attitude that losing was not an option to a young Cubs team that knew they could win and hadn’t figured out how. He worked hard, was respectful to his teammates and the media, but it was also obvious that Lester would do anything it took to win. Lester did not have an iota of “quit” in him and his mindset is part of what made him one of the best pitchers in the last 20 years. The only question for Lester moving forward is what cap he will wear when Cooperstown calls his name.
Congratulations to Jon Lester on an amazing career. Thank you for some of the most fun years that we ever had as Cubs fans. Let us all wish him and his family good luck and good health in the future!