Ex-Red Sox Teammate Takes Bold Stance On Jon Lester’s Hall Of Fame Case

John Lackey is adamant Lester belongs in Cooperstown


January 13

John Lackey firmly believes Jon Lester should, and will, be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Lester announced his retirement Wednesday after 16 seasons in Major League Baseball, and ESPN’s Jesse Rogers caught up with several old friends to discuss the pitcher’s impressive career.

Lackey, who played alongside Lester with both the Boston Red Sox (2010-14) and Chicago Cubs (2016-17), is so adamant that his former teammate belongs in Cooperstown that he’s willing to take a bold stance until the Hall comes knocking.

“I told my kids, I’m not going until Jon gets in,” Lackey told Rogers. “That’s when we’re going to Cooperstown. I can’t wait to be there.”

Lester’s résumé definitely deserves strong consideration. He racked up 200 career regular-season victories, earned five All-Star selections and won three World Series titles. The left-hander also is considered one of the best postseason performers in MLB history, on top of being an extremely durable hurler whose leadership, work ethic and competitiveness have drawn rave reviews.

“Just a pro’s pro,” Lackey said, per 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 spent his first eight-plus seasons with the Red Sox before a trade to the Oakland Athletics in 2014. He signed with the Cubs in the ensuing offseason and spent six years in Chicago before finishing his career with a 2021 campaign split between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.

It’ll certainly be a fascinating debate when Lester is eligible for the Hall of Fame in five years, especially with so few starting pitchers assuming comparable workloads nowadays. But at least we know where Lackey stands, and it’s probably safe to say he’s not alone in his opinion.

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