in ,

Jon Lester Announces Retirement From MLB After 16 Seasons

Videos by OutKick

Jon Lester announced his retirement from MLB Wednesday, bringing his 16-year run to an end.

The 38-year-old is a three-time World Series champion and was one of three active players with 200 career wins. (Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are the others.)

After making 30 or more starts 12 times during his career, Lester goes out on his own terms.

“It’s kind of run its course,” Lester said, via ESPN. “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.”

While Lester spent time with the Athletics (2014), Nationals and Cardinals (2021), he’ll forever be known for his stints with the Red Sox (2006-14) and the Cubs (2015-20).

Selected by Boston in the second round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, Lester went 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA and 1,386 Ks. Lester was the ace of the 2013 World Series team, pitching to a 0.59 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals.

His career year, however, came in 2016, when the Cubs broke the curse and won their first World Series since 1908. Lester pitched a career-low 2.44 ERA that season and was named the NLCS MVP.

“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].”

Lester is undoubtedly one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time, one of nine in the modern era to win 200 games and have a career ERA under 4.00. Per ESPN, six of the other eight are in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Perhaps his most inspiring moment came in 2007, when Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma. With his immediate MLB future in doubt, Lester underwent chemotherapy but was still able to return that same season.

“I was in Triple-A on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket after cancer,” Lester said. “My parents were there and they were leaving that day or the next day to go home, and I told them they have to change their flight and I said, ‘I’m starting the next night in Cleveland.’

“That’s one of the top moments of my career. Seeing their faces was pretty cool. Once I got back to baseball, I tried not to take anything for granted and really appreciated being around the guys.”


New FanDuel Sportsbook users can make their first bet risk-free up to $1,000. If the bet loses, the FanDuel Sportsbook will refund you in site credit. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link. 

Follow Nick Geddes on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes. 

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Nick is a life-long sports fan who is proud to say he suffered through 15 years of Bucs futility to witness a Super Bowl victory in 2020. Nick has a passion for writing and is proud to represent OutKick. Follow me on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

Leave a Reply

to comment on this post. Not a VIP? Signup Here