Boston Red Sox: 30 Greatest Players in Team History

8 of 31

Jul 20, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

24: Jon Lester, SP (2006-2014)

Jon Lester made his debut with the Red Sox in 2006 as a 22-year-old rookie. He started 15 games that season, going 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA. He had some health complications late in the season that were later revealed to be an early form of cancer. Lester was treated early with chemotherapy, and in December of 2006, CT scans showed the cancer to be in remission.

With that behind him, Lester miraculously joined the team for Spring Training that season. They took it slow with his return, as he pitched in the minor leagues at the beginning of the year. In late July, Lester made his 2007 debut with the Red Sox, and continued to be a part of the rotation for the rest of the season.

Lester was on the post season roster that season as a reliever, but with the team up 3-0 in the World Series, they gave him the ball for the clinching Game 4. Lester pitched brilliantly, not giving up any runs in 5.2 innings of work. The Red Sox went on to win the game, clinching the 2007 World Series. Lester went from having a form of cancer to winning the clinching game in the World Series in one-year’s time.

From that point forward, Lester pitched like the ace of the Red Sox staff. He went 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2008, and that was a start of four consecutive seasons with at least 15 wins and an ERA under 3.50.

Lester was the unquestioned ace of the staff for their 2013 World Series championship, leading the pitching staff in the regular season and post season. 2014 was Lester’s best statistical year, as he had a 2.52 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched in the first half, before the Red Sox traded him away to the Oakland Athletics.

The Red Sox did not appear to be competitive, and Lester was set to get a huge pay-day in free agency at the end of the season. It is always hard to watch your team’s stars leave, but it made sense for the Red Sox to deal Lester.

He was a huge part of two World Series championships, and over-came the largest obstacle anyone can over-come.

Next: Number 23