Three-time World Series champion Jon Lester, who split last season between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals, and has won over 200 games during his career officially announced his retirement.
Lester, 38, stated that his body just isn’t up for the rigors of a major league season anymore, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Lester wraps up a 16-year career by notching five All-Star appearances and a 2.51 postseason ERA.
“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.”
“I remember the nervous feeling I had before Game 4 of the World Series in 2007,” he 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 called signing with the Cubs “the single biggest decision we’ve ever made in my pro career”, and helped the club win their historic 2016 World Series championship.
“Coming in, you’re expected to be the guy to bring the World Series,” he said. “I felt that early on in 2015. I was trying to win the World Series in the first month of the season. Rossy [David Ross] pulled me aside and basically told me to be myself. ‘You don’t need to do anything more than what you’ve done. Just relax and pitch.'”
Lester said he may consider moving into the media sector, and would be willing to help tutor young pitchers, but did state the full-time coaching wouldn’t be in the cards for him.
“I never wanted fans to leave a game and ask, ‘Was the effort there?'” Lester said. “I think I always gave it.”