Red Sox

Jon Lester, two-time champion with Red Sox, announces retirement

Lester was a three-time All-Star with the Red Sox and was part of Boston's World Series titles in 2007 and 2013.

Jon Lester Red Sox
Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game One of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2013 in Boston. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Red Sox hero Jon Lester is calling it a career after 16 seasons.

The 38-year-old veteran pitcher that was part of two World Series titles in Boston cited wear and tear on his body as the big reason he’s finally hanging up the cleats in an interview with ESPN.

“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.”

Advertisement:

What a journey it’s been for the left-hander who began his career with the Red Sox in 2006.

“Any time he had the ball, it was a different feeling as a teammate,” said former teammate Dustin Pedroia. “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.”

His resilience was also on display in overcoming a lymphoma cancer diagnosis during the 2006 season and returning to the Red Sox in the middle of the 2007 season. From then on, he was a mainstay during a golden period for the franchise.

Lester finishes his career with a stellar 200-117 record, with a .366 ERA and 2,488 strikeouts in 2,740 innings pitched. He also made five All-Star teams, including three appearances with Boston, and was part of the 2007 and 2013 World Series champion Red Sox teams.

Boston traded the southpaw to the Oakland A’s during the 2014 season, and he declined to return to Boston on a free-agent deal in 2015, opting to join the Chicago Cubs instead. He earned two more All-Star appearances in 2016 and 2018 and helped Chicago break its 108-year World Series championship drought in 2016.

Advertisement:

He started 28 games for the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals in 2021.

“I never wanted fans to leave a game and ask, ‘Was the effort there?'” Lester said. “I think I always gave it.”

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com