Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak is more than a camouflage, hunting, wildlife management and rural properties company. Mossy Oak is made up of some of the best people in the world. This week you’ll meet 29-year old Jon Lester from Washington State, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2002 at only age 18, and who spent 4 years in the minor leagues and then went to the big leagues in 2006. Lester is currently one of the best left-handed pitchers in the sport of baseball, is starting for the Boston Red Sox and has the best record in baseball for 2013. Lester, a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer, also is a hunter, a cancer survivor and a family man.
On May 19, 2008, at Fenway Park I threw a no-hitter. I never will forget the ninth inning. We had two outs, when Alberto Callaspo stepped into the batter’s box to either destroy my perfect game or allow me to have a pitcher’s dream – a perfect game. Callaspo was pinch hitting for one of his team members. The first two pitches were strikes. The count was 0 and 2. On the third pitch, Callaspo fouled the ball out of play. I took a break and told myself, “If the perfect game is going to happen, it is going to happen. With this pitch, you can’t really change anything. You just have to do your best.” Our catcher was Jason Varitek, who would make the decision on the pitch he wanted me to throw, based on his knowledge of the batter and the knowledge he had of the pitches I had in my arsenal. Varitek gave me the signal to, “Throw a fast ball away.” In my mind, I knew that the catcher was telling me to throw as hard as I could. I didn’t know until later that I already had thrown more than 120 pitches, and this last pitch would be my 130th pitch.
When I threw that last pitch, my fast ball went up and away, and Callaspo swung and missed. The game was over, and I was glad to see it end. I was relieved. I had pitched all 9 innings and had a perfect game. As a starting pitcher, rarely do you get to go the full 9 innings. To pitch a perfect game, everything about the game has to go right for the pitcher. Having all my teammates come pouring out of the dugout and dive on top of me to make what we call a dog pile was amazing. I am usually one of the guys running out and jumping on the pitcher who’s closed the game out if we win. For once, to be the person that had all my teammates on top of me, and to see the joy that they had for me, not only for our team, was an awesome moment that I never would forget. When we got inside the club house, I was sprayed down with beer and champagne and pulled in different directions by writers and TV hosts wanting to do interviews with me. Finally, after all the celebration was over, I was able to go home and sleep.
For more information on Jon Lester, CLICK HERE.
Day 2: The Boston Red Sox’s Jon Lester Remembers His Most Memorable Moment in Baseball
Tomorrow: Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester Compares Pitching and Hunting