Jon Lester’s departure still stings, but he leaves baseball an icon twice over

Jon Lester’s departure still stings, but he leaves baseball an icon twice over

Commentary It’s hard not to wish we’d kept him all to ourselves. Jon Lester remains the last Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Fenway Park, having done it to the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2008. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Jon Lester left baseball on his own terms Wednesday, telling ESPN that “I don’t want someone else telling me I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, ‘Thank you, it’s been fun.’ “

It wasn’t entirely unexpected. He’d spoken to the Globe on Tuesday, presumably to check his temperature about a 17th MLB season, and offered basically the same quote with the caveat that “there’s also the desire to still want to do it.”

One last time, though, Lester got it right on the biggest stage. And I can’t think of anything more perfect from a suburban Seattle kid who always felt like a Texan — you can’t fire me, because I quit.

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What a career. Three World Series, 200 wins on the dot, a no-hitter, a postseason resumé like few others, and a successful battle with lymphoma that I dare say matters more than all the rest. Is it a Hall of Fame ticket? Save that for another day, please.

It’s rare to retire an icon in one city. Jon Lester is an unquestioned…

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