John Lackey looks forward to one day visiting Cooperstown to watch Jon Lester's Hall of Fame induction.
Lester officially announced his retirement Wednesday after 16 MLB seasons. The 38-year-old spent the first nine years of his career with the Boston Red Sox. He was teammates with Lackey from 2010-14 in Boston and 2016-17 with the Chicago Cubs.
In a conversation with ESPN's Jesse Rogers, Lackey had a strong stance on Lester's eventual Hall-of-Fame candidacy.
“I told my kids, I’m not going until Jon gets in,” Lackey said. “That’s when we’re going to Cooperstown. I can’t wait to be there.”
Lester will have a solid case when he's eligible for induction in five years. The left-hander is a three-time World Series champion and a five-time All-Star. His postseason résumé is stellar and includes a 2.51 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 26 appearances (154 innings). He's made more Game 1 playoff starts than any other pitcher in MLB history.
“Just a pro’s pro,” Lackey told Rogers. “Worked his butt off. Friggin’ took the ball every five days. Wasn’t a huge talker in the locker room. Led by example. Maybe the best playoff pitcher ever.”
Lester was traded from the Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics during the 2014 season. He spent the next six years with the Cubs, adding a third World Series ring to his collection in 2016. In 2021, Lester wrapped up his admirable career with the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
Lester hangs 'em up with a 200-117 record, 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2,488 strikeouts, and 2,740 innings pitched in 452 games.