Jon Lester has left a legacy for himself on the baseball field that will live on forever. He was an integral part of two World Series titles in Boston and one — that people sometimes forget — in Chicago. And while he’s certainly a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame when he retires, what he’s done off the field is perhaps even more significant.
When Anthony Rizzo was 18 years old in the spring of 2008 he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. He had been drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2007 in the sixth round and was tearing it up in class A ball when he found out he had cancer. On May 16, 2008, right after he received his diagnosis, Rizzo and his family were in Boston and were invited to the Red Sox clubhouse where he was introduced for the first time to Jon Lester, himself a cancer survivor.
That first meeting between Lester and Rizzo would lay the foundation for their relationship as it stands today. If you’ve never read about it, you should do that by clicking here. In 2012, Lester would partner with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation to start the NVRQT campaign, through which Jon has supported countless children with cancer.
Earlier this week, Lester was announced as a nominee for the 2019 Roberto Clemente award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” It’s thought of by many around baseball as one of, if not the biggest off-field honors you can receive. It’s an award that Anthony Rizzo won in 2017 for his work supporting cancer patients through the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.
The Cubs put together a touching tribute for Lester, which you can see below. A really cool tribute and quite an honor for Jon Lester.
Jon Lester's impact reaches far beyond the diamond.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2019