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John Lackey

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John Derren Lackey (born October 23, 1978, in Abilene, Texas) is a major league baseball starting pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. He played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim his entire career until the 2010, when he signed a five-year contract with the Red Sox. Fox Sports color commentator Rex Hudler coined the nickname Big John for the 6' 6" Angels hurler.

High School yearsEdit

Before Lackey was in high school though he played at Dixie Little League in Abilene.Lackey attended Abilene High School (Abilene, Texas) (the Eagles), 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 and pro careerEdit

He played one season of baseball at University of Texas at Arlington, playing first base and sometimes moonlighting as a reliever. In 1999, 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 ERA.

In 1999, he was drafted in the second round (68th overall) by the Anaheim Angels. He began his professional career with the rookie-level Boise Hawks, posting a 6-2 record and a 4.98 ERA. 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, posting a combined 15-9 record with a 3.15 ERA. He began 2000 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.

Los Angeles AngelsEdit

He 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 on 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 post-season 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 eventual Angels loss.

However, it was in Game 7 of the World Series on October 27, 2002 that Lackey won one of the biggest games of his career. Lackey allowed only one earned run on four hits while striking out four in five innings, 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.

Lackey struggled his sophomore year, compiling a 10-16 record with a 4.63 ERA while leading the team in hits allowed, earned runs allowed, and wild pitches. He improved in 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 thirty of his thirty six 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 retained a bit of his wild nature 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 batters in a row after Mark Kotsay of the Oakland Athletics led off the first inning with double, coming within one out of a perfect game. He threw a career high 30 2/3 scoreless innings from July 2, 2006 through July 19, 2006, when he gave up a fifth-inning home run to Ben Broussard of the Cleveland Indians. He was later named American League Pitcher of the Month for July 2006.

File:JohnLackeyLAAngels.jpg

On June 13, 2007, Lackey became the first pitcher to win 10 games for the 2007 season. 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. At the end of the 2007 season, Lackey won the award for the American League's top earned-run average, finishing with an excellent 3.01 ERA. Lackey was rewarded for his excellent season with a third-place finish in that season's Cy Young voting.

On July 10, 2008, Lackey allowed six runs on 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings. The 15 hits tied an all-time Angels franchise record for hits allowed by a starter in a single game.[1]

On July 18, 2008, Lackey pitched his 1000th career strikeout against Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox. Lackey is the sixth Angels pitcher to accomplish that feat.[2]

On July 29, 2008 John Lackey pitched against the Red Sox at Fenway, 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, Kevin 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 2 run-home run to Jason Bay of the Boston Red Sox, and was charged with the Angel's first loss in the series.

Boston Red SoxEdit

On December 16, Lackey officially signed a 5 year contract worth $82.5 million with the Boston Red Sox.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Angels hang on for wild win over Rangers. SportingNews.com. Associated Press (2008-07-10). Retrieved on 2008-07-10.
  2. "[http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080718&content_id=3152304&vkey=news_ana&fext=.jsp&c_id=ana Lackey tallies 1,000th strikeout vs. Sox Hurler becomes the sixth Angels pitcher to reach milestone]". losangeles.angels.mlb.com. Retrieved on 2008-07-20.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by:
Johan Santana
American League ERA Champion
2007
Succeeded by:
Cliff Lee
Preceded by:
Johan Santana
Scott Kazmir
American League Pitcher of the month
June 2006
June 2008
Succeeded by:
Esteban Loaiza
Jon Lester

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