Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester gets Opening Day start
By Erik Mauro
File this under “surprising, but not so surprising.” For the third time in four years, Jon Lester was named the Opening Day starter for the Cubs against the Marlins. Lester has now been the Opening Day starter three out of his four years with the Cubs. Has he cemented his legacy already?
There is no doubt that the Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester‘s career has been more than good. He has three World Series rings, has been an All-star four times, has pitched a no-hitter, and was co-MVP of the 2016 NLCS. Oh, Lester beat cancer back in 2007, too. Over his career, Lester has posted 41.6 WAR. When all is said and done, and he hangs the cleats up, is he a Hall of Famer?
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How to compare the 41.6 WAR with some all-time greats? The closest Hall of fame player in WAR is Goose Gossage at 41.8 WAR. After Gossage comes Dizzy Dean, with 42.7 WAR. To contrast, Dwight Gooden, Ron Guidry, and Milt Pappas all had closer to 50 WAR, and none of them are in the Hall.
But in this day and age with the voters becoming more analytically centered and getting younger, the times may be changing, which could bode well for Lester.
Should Lester finish his career strong and get elected to the Hall of Fame, (another World Series ring would help, Cubs,) which hat is he going to wear on his plaque? The Red Sox and Cubs are the runaway favorites, but it’s unfair to count the A’s out. After all, he did help get the A’s to the playoffs. Also not to be forgotten: The Athletics have one of the coolest hats in baseball, , and that has to count for something, right?
Anyway, Lester is a legend in Boston. He was on the team that ended the curse of the Bambino in 2004. He was also on the team that won it four years later in 2007. Lester has already cemented his legacy in Chicago as well, being on THE team that won the World Series. He doesn’t have to pitch another game in either place to be considered a part of history.
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Of course, this is all hearsay until his name is called. At this point, he may not be a Hall of Fame pitcher, but after his career is over, he will have a heck of a compelling case.