John Lackey

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For President of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, see John Lackey (Australian politician).
John Lackey
20110426-1018 John Lackey.jpg
Lackey with the Boston Red Sox in 2011
Boston Red Sox – No. 41
Starting pitcher
Born: (1978-10-23) October 23, 1978 (age 35)
Abilene, Texas
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 24, 2002 for the Anaheim Angels
Career statistics
(through June 19, 2014)
Win–loss record 146–111
Earned run average 4.00
Strikeouts 1,716
Teams
Career highlights and awards

John Derran Lackey (born October 23, 1978) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Lackey was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in 1999 and helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 2002, which was his first season in the major leagues. In 2007, he led the American League in earned run average and was also named to the All-Star team for the first time. When he became a free agent in 2009, Lackey signed with the Boston Red Sox. After missing the next year while recovering from elbow surgery, Lackey rebounded in 2013 and helped the Red Sox win the World Series.

Early life[edit]

High school years[edit]

Lackey was born in Abilene, Texas. Before Lackey was in high school, he played at Dixie Little League in Abilene. Lackey attended Abilene High School, and was a letterman in football, basketball, and baseball. In baseball, he was a two-time first team All-District honoree and as a senior, he was also an All-State selection.

College years[edit]

He played one season of baseball at the University of Texas at Arlington, playing first base and sometimes moonlighting as a reliever. In 1999, he played on the Junior College World Series champion Grayson County College team in Denison, Texas, where he posted a 10–3 record with a 4.23 earned run average.

Minor league career[edit]

In the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft, he was drafted in the second round (68th overall) by the Anaheim Angels. He began his professional career with the Boise Hawks in the Short Season Class A Northwest League, posting a 6–2 record and a 4.98 ERA. Already in his first year Lackey became known for his competitiveness. According to MiLB.com, Tom Kotchman, the veteran manager, recalled "one particular game when he tried to replace Lackey only to have the tall Texan tell him otherwise. Sure enough, Kotchman trotted back to the dugout and Lackey kept dominating, as if to say, 'See? I'm not done yet.'"[1] In 2000, Lackey split his time between the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels, High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, and Double-A Erie SeaWolves. Because of his quick ascent up the minor league ladder, he was named the Angels' Minor League Pitcher of the Year,[2] posting a combined 15–9 record with a 3.15 ERA. He began 2001 with Double-A Arkansas before being promoted in July of that year to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, where he struggled a bit, posting a 3–4 record and a 6.71 ERA. He recovered in the 2002 season, being named Best Pitching Prospect of the Pacific Coast League and accumulating an 8–2 record with a 2.57 ERA.[2]

Major league career[edit]

Los Angeles Angels (2002–2009)[edit]

2002[edit]

Lackey was called up to the bigs on June 24, dropping his first major league start against the Texas Rangers. He was optioned back to Salt Lake, until he was recalled to replace pitcher Al Levine on June 28. On June 30, he replaced Scott Schoeneweis in the Angels' rotation and gained his first victory against the cross-town rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Lackey was the winning pitcher for the American League Wild Card-clinching victory against Texas on September 26.

With the AL Wild Card in hand, the Angels began their march through the 2002 postseason, facing the feared New York Yankees in the ALDS. Lackey made his relief and postseason debut in Game 3, allowing two earned runs in the midst of an Angels rally to win 9–6. He gained his first postseason victory against the Minnesota Twins in Game 4 of the ALCS, pitching seven innings while allowing only three hits and striking out seven.

With their victory in five games over the Twins, the Angels earned their first American League pennant and made their first trip to the World Series. After starter Kevin Appier was pulled after two-plus innings in Game 2, Lackey pitched two innings giving up two earned runs on two hits, receiving a no-decision in the eventual 11–10 Angel victory over the San Francisco Giants. He started Game 4 of the Series, pitching four scoreless innings, but gaining a no-decision after allowing three hits and three earned runs in the 5th inning in the eventual Angels loss.

However, it was in Game 7 of the World Series on October 27, 2002, Lackey allowed one earned run on four hits while striking out four in five innings,[3] allowing the Angels to hold an early 4–1 lead to hand over to their bullpen trio of Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodríguez, and Troy Percival to seal their World Series title. Lackey became only the second rookie in World Series history to start and win Game 7, the other being Babe Adams of the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates.[4]

John Lackey during his tenure with the Angels in 2006.

2003–06[edit]

Mike Scioscia announced that Lackey would start on Opening Day 2003, replacing injured ace Jarrod Washburn.[5] Lackey struggled his sophomore year, compiling a 10–16 record with a 4.63 ERA while leading the team in hits and earned runs allowed, and wild pitches. He finished 2004 with a record of 14–13 and a 4.67 ERA, helping the Angels win their first division title since 1986. The 2005 campaign saw Lackey mature further, working into the sixth inning in 30 of his 36 starts, earning a 14–5 record with a 3.44 ERA. He ranked second in strikeouts per nine innings (with 8.6 K/9 IP) and third in strikeouts (199). However, he finished with the third most wild pitches in the league.

After the Angels placed 2005 Cy Young winner Bartolo Colón on the disabled list in 2006, Lackey emerged as the team's ace, and skipper Mike Scioscia made him the number one starter after the All-Star break. On July 7, 2006, Lackey retired 27 consecutive batters after Mark Kotsay of the Oakland Athletics led off the first inning with double. He threw a career high 3023 scoreless innings from July 2 through July 19, 2006, when he gave up a fifth-inning home run to Ben Broussard of the Cleveland Indians, leaving his scoreless streak 513 innings short of the club record, set by Jim McGlothlin in 1967.[6] He was later named American League Pitcher of the Month for July 2006.

2007–09[edit]

Lackey on April 18, 2007

On June 13, 2007, Lackey became the first pitcher to win 10 games for the 2007 season.[7] On July 1, Lackey was named as one of three Angels to represent the club and the American League at the 2007 All-Star Game. Lackey finished the 2007 season with an American League leading 3.01 ERA. He finished in third place for that season's Cy Young Award voting.

On July 10, 2008, Lackey allowed six runs on 15 hits in 523 innings. The 15 hits tied an all-time Angels' franchise record for hits allowed by a starter in a single game.[8]

On July 18, 2008, Lackey recorded his 1000th career strikeout, against Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox. Lackey was the sixth Angels pitcher to accomplish that feat.[9] On July 29, 2008, Lackey pitched against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, carrying a no-hitter into the ninth inning. He came within two outs of a no-hitter before Dustin Pedroia singled to left to spoil it. The next batter, Youkilis, hit a two-run homer to break up the shutout. Lackey still finished the game and the Angels won 6–2.

In Game 1 of the 2008 ALDS, he gave up a two-run home run to Jason Bay of the Red Sox, and was charged with the Angels' first loss in the series.

In his first start of 2009, on May 16, Lackey was ejected after his first two pitches of the season in a game against the Texas Rangers. Lackey threw his first pitch behind Ian Kinsler's head, and hit Kinsler in the side with his second pitch. Home plate umpire Bob Davidson ejected Lackey without hesitation. Since Kinsler scored, Lackey was charged with an earned run, giving him an ERA of infinity.[10] Kinsler had hit two home runs against the Angels the night before.[11]

On August 30, 2009, Lackey earned his 100th career win against the Oakland Athletics, giving up one run (on an error by shortstop Erick Aybar) through eight innings.

Lackey is one of only six major league pitchers who won at least 11 games in each year from 2004 to 2009, the others being CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, Johan Santana, Javier Vázquez, and Jason Marquis.

At the end of the 2009 season Lackey became a free agent, widely regarded as the best free agent starting pitcher on the 2010 market. Baseball Prospectus declared, "Lackey stands alone as the best of the best, a relatively young righty who carries significantly less risk than the other high-upside hurlers", additionally noting he faced a tough division and tougher league and his statistics would likely be even better if he were a National League pitcher.[12] As one of the top free agent starters on the market, he was predicted to command a deal worth around $70 to $80 million, similar to the deal A. J. Burnett received from the Yankees. Lackey drew interest from many teams, including the Seattle Mariners, the Milwaukee Brewers,[13] the New York Yankees,[14] the New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.[15] He formally declined the Angels' offer of salary arbitration on December 8.[16]

Boston Red Sox (2010–present)[edit]

On December 16, 2009, Lackey officially signed a five-year contract worth $82.5 million with the Boston Red Sox.[17] His contract had a clause where if he missed a full season due to injury, the Red Sox would have a team option at the end of the contract worth the league minimum.[18] On April 7, 2010 Lackey made his debut for Boston at Fenway Park against the Yankees, pitching six innings of three-hit, shutout ball.

2010[edit]

Lackey posted a 10–5 record and a 4.26 ERA during the first half of the 2010 season and finished his first season with the Red Sox with a 14–11 record, 4.40 ERA over 215 innings pitched.

2011[edit]

Lackey went 2–5 with an 8.01 ERA in his first seven starts, and in May, he was placed on the disabled list with an elbow strain in his throwing arm.[19] Lackey returned shortly, recording an ERA over 5.00 in every month but one.[20] In 28 starts, Lackey finished the season 12–12 with a 6.41 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, both career worsts. The 114 earned runs he allowed were the most in the American League,[21] and his ERA was the highest in Red Sox history for a starter with at least 150 innings pitched. In the end of the 2011 season, Lackey and two more starting pitchers (Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, allegedly) were in the center of a controversy that told that the three (and sometimes more) drank beers and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they were not pitching.[22][23][24]

2012[edit]

During a press conference, Ben Cherington, the new GM of the Boston Red Sox, revealed that John Lackey had Tommy John surgery during the 2011 offseason. As a result, Lackey did not pitch for the entire 2012 season.[25] Lackey was later seen drinking beer in the clubhouse during his rehabilitation, causing further controversy.[26][27]

2013[edit]

On April 6, Lackey injured his arm in his first start since September 2011. The Red Sox announced it was a right biceps strain.[28] On April 28, Lackey got his first win since the 2011 season, going six innings, giving up one run and five hits in a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros.[29]

On October 30, Lackey was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, which clinched the Boston Red Sox' eighth World Series title. In doing so, Lackey became the first starting pitcher in Major League history to win two World Series "clinching" games with two different teams. Lackey garnered much media attention by his refusal to leave the game when Manager John Farrell came to the mound with two outs in the seventh inning, telling Farrell "this is my guy" (referring to the next batter, Matt Holliday). Farrell allowed Lackey to stay in the game, but he eventually walked Holliday to load the bases. Lackey exited to a standing ovation from Fenway Park. [30][31]

Many credited Lackey's turnaround as a major reason for the Red Sox' success in 2013, especially at mid-season when Clay Buchholz went on the disabled list and Jon Lester was going through a rough stretch. Lackey finished 2013 with a 10-13 record and a 3.52 ERA. He was plagued by a lack of run support throughout the season, but threw two complete games, the first time in a season that he had multiple complete games since 2008.

After the season, Lackey was awarded with the Tony Conigliaro Award, and award given out to the player who has overcome the most adversity.[32]

2014[edit]

Lackey began the season as the Red Sox's number 2 starter behind Jon Lester. Lackey made 6 starts in April, with 4 being quality starts, and 2 giving up 6 runs in less than 6 innings. Dating back to May 23, Lackey has thrown 6 straight quality starts, going 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

On July 5, 2014, Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz went 3-for-3 with a double off of Lackey. The previous season, Cruz had served a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, which Cruz said he used to fight a gastrointestinal infection. After the DH's big game, Lackey said, "I'm not going to comment on him. I've got nothing to say about him. There are some things I would like to say but I'm not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff."[33] In response, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "Considering the timing of things, it's one of those things that you keep quiet about it and it reflects poorly upon the person who said it."[34]

Personal life[edit]

On August 30, 2011 Lackey filed for divorce from his wife of almost three years, Krista. She had been battling cancer, having undergone a double mastectomy in March and chemotherapy through June. [35][36][37][38] The divorce was finalized by February 2012.[39][40][41]

John resides in the Fort Worth area in the off season with his girlfriend and their daughter. [42]

Popular culture[edit]

In 2009, the satirical publication The Onion published an article about Lackey, titled Superstitious John Lackey Has To Build, Destroy A Luxury Hotel Before Every Start.[43] The article is meant to satirize more superstitious professional athletes.

He was featured in a Kevin Fowler music video alongside teammates Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz.[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brittany Ghiroli (October 5, 2009). "Path of the Pros: John Lackey: Always unflappable, the Angels' ace never wavered in his winning ways". MiLB.com. 
  2. ^ a b Ghiroli, Brittany (October 5, 2009). "Path of the Pros: John Lackey". MLB.com. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ Baseball's Best: 2002 World Series, Game 7, MLB.com.
  4. ^ Donovan, John (October 28, 2002). "It was no Game 6, but Angels got what they needed". CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ Miller, Doug (March 24, 2003). "Lackey gets Opening Day nod". MLB.com. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (July 19, 2006). "Indians end Lackey's scoreless streak, Angels win streak". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (June 13, 2007). "Lackey pitches streaking Angels past Reds". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Angels hang on for wild win over Rangers". SportingNews.com. Associated Press. July 10, 2008. Retrieved July 10, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Lackey tallies 1,000th strikeout vs. Sox Hurler becomes the sixth Angels pitcher to reach milestone". losangeles.angels.mlb.com. Retrieved July 20, 2008. 
  10. ^ Saturday, May 16, 2009 Los Angeles
  11. ^ Bleacher Report
  12. ^ Seidman, Eric (November 24, 2009). "So You Need: Starting Pitching". baseballprospectus.com. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Brewers Meet With Lackey Agent". mlb.com. mlb.com. November 12, 2009. 
  14. ^ Heyman, Jon (November 9, 2009). "Yankees looking at Lackey". Sports Illustrated. 
  15. ^ Shaikin, Bill (November 20, 2009). "For Angels, Jason Bay, John Lackey and Chone Figgins are all in play". latimes.com. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  16. ^ Spencer, Lyle. Lackey declines Halos' arbitration offer, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Published December 8, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  17. ^ Browne, Ian. Red Sox welcoming Cameron, Lackey, Boston Red Sox. Published December 16, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  18. ^ Bradford, Rob (February 28, 2014). "JOHN LACKEY ON SALARY STRUCTURE FOR 2015: ‘IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT’". WEEI. 
  19. ^ Krasner, Steven (May 17, 2011). "John Lackey shelved with elbow strain". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  20. ^ "John Lackey 2011 Pitching Splits". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  21. ^ "John Lackey Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  22. ^ Brown, Ian (October 17, 2011). "Lester: We did drink in clubhouse during games". Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Report outlines Red Sox problems". October 13, 2011. 
  24. ^ Silva, Steve (August 10, 2012). "Report: John Lackey 'double-fisting' beer in Red Sox clubhouse after loss". The Boston Globe. 
  25. ^ Jackson, Scott. "John Lackey to miss 2012 Season". Bleacher Bum Sports. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  26. ^ Silva, Steve (August 10, 2012). "Report: John Lackey 'double-fisting' beer in Red Sox clubhouse after loss". The Boston Globe. 
  27. ^ "Jon Heyman On Gresh & Zo: John Lackey ‘Just A Big Disappointment’". August 14, 2012. 
  28. ^ Cafardo, Nick (April 6, 2013). "John Lackey suffers biceps strain, leaves game". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  29. ^ MLB.com Gameday | redsox.com: Gameday
  30. ^ McDonald, Joe (October 31, 2013). "Lackey caps comeback season in style". ESPN Boston. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  31. ^ Sherman, Joel. "John Lackey goes from chump to champ – New York Post". New York Post. 
  32. ^ "John Lackey wins Tony C. Award". ESPN Boston. December 3, 2013. 
  33. ^ Encina, Eduardo. "Red Sox pitcher John Lackey on Orioles star Nelson Cruz: 'I've got nothing to say about him'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  34. ^ Axisa, Mike (July 6, 2014). "O's Showalter chides Lackey over PED hints following Cruz's 5 for 5". CBS Sports. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  35. ^ "John Lackey vows to rebuild image, career". Boston Globe. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  36. ^ "On John Lackey's divorce and the Boston microscope". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  37. ^ John Lackey is divorcing his wife who is battling cancer and he's angry at the media too The Big Lead, September 26, 2011
  38. ^ John Lackey's wife Krista Clark Lackey
  39. ^ Red Sox Pitcher John Lackey’s Divorce Finalized | Law Office of Matthew J. Jensen
  40. ^ John Lackey gets his divorce Perez Hilton, February 4, 2012
  41. ^ Red Sox pitcher John Lackey divorce is final TMZ, February 4, 2012
  42. ^ http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/10/31/red-sox-pitcher-john-lackey-completes-turn-redemption/m4rF3zU5CO5sLA3B5hbmQJ/story.html
  43. ^ Superstitious John Lackey Has To Build, Destroy A Luxury Hotel Before Every Start
  44. ^ Josh Beckett and other Sox pitchers show up in video for Kevin Fowler song Boston Globe, July 19, 2011

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Johan Santana
Scott Kazmir
American League Pitcher of the month
June 2006
June 2008
Succeeded by
Esteban Loaiza
Jon Lester