Like many of you, I was there for Jon Lester’s first start in a Chicago Cubs uniform on that freezing cold Easter Sunday at Wrigley Field in April of 2015. And anyone at the ballpark that day could tell you how electric the park was. Jon Lester’s arrival in Chicago marked the end of the rebuild and the beginning of something truly special, even if we didn’t exactly know it yet.
There was a sense of destiny in the ballpark that day. I swear it was palpable.
And while the Cubs may have given Lester 155 million reasons to come to Chicago that winter, he still chose to join a young, unproven roster on a journey that so many talented players have tried and failed to complete before him. Obviously, this time, it was different. Jon Lester was the most significant and the best free agent signing in the history of this franchise and one of the greatest Cubs of all-time on and off the field
Unfortunately, Lester’s Cubs career came to an end in 2020, when no fans were allowed in the stands. And pitching behind Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks in the postseason rotation, Lester didn’t even get a chance to defend his playoff team on the mound against the Marlins at Wrigley Field. And that means none of us were there to send him off right. To give him the goodbye he deserved. And seeing as Lester’s first return to Wrigley Field with the Nationals will come early in the season (May), I fear we may not get the chance to show him the love and respect he’s earned from this city in person/together anytime soon (Who knows … maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll be back in the stadium sooner than we think? Or maybe we’ll be unlucky enough to meet him in the postseason ….).
In any case, the Cubs production team has complied an absolutely wonderful, fan-footage-driven, hype video farewell to Jon Lester and I’m sure you’re going to love it. I went through a lot of different emotions watching this video. Jon Lester was truly one of the greats.
Goodbye, old friend. I hope you absolutely dominate this season.
Tenacity on the field. Generosity off the field.
A leader, a teammate, a role model.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 27, 2021