After earning 200th win with Cardinals, Jon Lester calling it a career

Jon Lester became part of St. Louis Cardinals folklore in 2021, as a seemingly futile trade deadline acquisition who helped make a franchise-record winning streak happen. After that, he is officially putting his entire career in the rearview mirror.

The former Cardinals, Nationals, Cubs and Red Sox pitcher told ESPN.com he has decided to retire after 16 years in the major leagues.

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“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. ’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.”

While Lester expressed interest in returning to the Red Sox in an interview with WEEI.com following his six-year stint with Chicago, the lefty never found his way back to the Sox. His last season was split between Washington and St. Louis.

Last year, he won his 200th game on Sept. 20 in Milwaukee. That night he allowed just two runs and three hits in six innings, en route to a 4-1 record and 4.36 ERA in 12 starts for St. Louis.

He and other, so-called aging veterans, provided the innings St. Louis needed in 2021 to reach the postseason despite major injuries to the starting rotation.

The 38-year-old Lester pitched with the Red Sox for nine seasons before going on to hurl six more with the Cubs. While with Boston - which selected Lester in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft - he 110 regular season games, totaling a 3.64 ERA.

It was in the postseason, however, that Lester perhaps made his biggest mark, finishing his career with a 2.51 ERA over 26 appearances (22 starts), playing key roles with the world champion teams in 2007, 2013 and 2016.

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