John Lackey wins World Series Game 6 for the Red Sox

The John Lackey story has officially come full circle in Boston

10/31/13 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey tips his cap to the crowd as he is relieved in the 7th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsA year ago, John Lackey was persona non grata in Boston. He was the poster boy for overpaid underachievers. He had already taken $48.5 million of the Red Sox dollars, and in return had given them a very average season in 2010, a disaster of a season in 2011, and proceeded to miss all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery.

Red Sox fans rued the day he was signed, and the vitriol directed towards him was at a level we hadn't seen since Bill Buckner watched the ball go through his legs in 1986.

After last night, however, everything changed. Now, John Lackey is the guy who will never have to pay for his own chicken or beer in Boston ever again.

In the World Series clincher, Lackey pitched an absolute gem against a potent Cardinals lineup. He gave up 9 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but managed to step up with runners no base and held the Cards to only one run. He did exactly what the Sox needed him to do, and they were able to clinch their first World Series championship at home since 1918.

Even as he was clearly on his last legs, Lackey showed the determination and pride that Bostonians demand from their players. When John Farrell went to the mound to take him out, he told Farrell "this is my guy," and basically insisted on staying in the game. He went on to walk Matt Holliday, and was removed from the game to a huge ovation from the Boston crowd.

Lackey has always been admired by his teammates, but this year he won over a fan base that had soured on him in the past. He pitched well all year, despite an alarming lack of run support over the course of the season. He had 8 losses this year in which the Red Sox offense, the most prolific scoring offense in baseball, scored two or less runs.

In 2013, John Lackey learned the lesson that Carl Crawford never bothered to find out. No matter how harsh the fans are in Boston when you play poorly, they'll turn it around in an instant when you redeem yourself. That's exactly what John Lackey did this year, and particularly in Game 6, and he'll now go down as another one of Boston's sports heroes.

Funny how that works, isn't it?
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11/1/13   |   ML31   |   3674 respect

Sounds a little like Barry Zito last year....