A three-time World Series winner is calling it a career. Jon Lester recently told ESPN that he's retiring after 16 seasons in the MLB. The 38-year-old pitcher said his body can't hold up anymore and it gets harder for him to be at the top of his game.
"It's kind of run its course," 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. I'd like to think I'm a halfway decent self-evaluator. I don't want someone else telling me I can't do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, 'Thank you, it's been fun.' That's probably the biggest deciding factor."
Lester played for the Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals in his career. He won two World Series titles with the Red Sox (2007, 2013) and one with the Cubs (2016), which was their first title since 1908. Lester also made playoff appearances in 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 and posted a 2.51 ERA.
"I remember the nervous feeling I had before Game 4 of the World Series in 2007," Lester said. "I remember standing on the mound in Game 5 against St. Louis in 2013, in a tie series, and an [paper] airplane got thrown from the upper deck that lands right behind the mound. I still remember looking at that. And then the turmoil of Game 7 in 2016 [when the Cubs won in extra innings]."
Along with the postseason success, Lester was selected to play in the All-Star game five times in his career. He pitched a no-hitter in 2008 and led the National League in wins with 20. Overall, Lester posted a 200-117 record with a 3.66 ERA and 2,488 strikeouts.
"Any time he had the ball, it was a different feeling as a teammate," former teammate Dustin Pedroia said. "The power, the way he worked, the will to win. He had great stuff, but his best gift was he found a way to win. That's something you can't teach, you can't coach. It's a special player that has that. There's not many."