Jon Lester sets dubious record by starting career 0 for 58

This is how far Jon Lester's record-setter traveled.
This is how far Jon Lester's record-setter traveled. (MLB.com)

Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester set a record Wednesday night and it wasn't one that'll make him particularly proud. Hilariously, he nearly hit a home run, or at least a double off the wall, against Max Scherzer that instead nestled into Denard Span's glove (MLB.com has video). When it did, Lester was 0 for 58 at the plate in his career, setting an MLB record for the most hitless at-bats to start a career. He passed Joey Hamilton from the mid-1990s.

In his second at-bat, Lester struck out, meaning he tied Hamilton for the most career plate appearances without a hit at 66.

The list (again, this is plate appearances, meaning it includes sac bunts, walks, HBPs, sac flies, etc.):

Lester, 66
Hamilton, 66
Ron Herbel, 63
Luke Walker, 56
Don Carman, 53
Steve Stone, 50

The spray chart of Lester heading into Wednesday's action shows that his fly against Scherzer was the best ball he has ever hit.

Though he'll never be an even remotely decent hitter -- even by pitcher standards -- Lester doesn't have a brutal enough swing to believe he'll be hitless all season. In his strikeout he even hit a line drive down the left-field line that was just a few feet foul.

For the sake of posterity, though, he's the record-holder for droughts to begin a career without a hit.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories