Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, sometimes touching, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters. Today's recipient: Former Cub John Lackey.
John Lackey had two big years for the Cubs 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 2016 then 12-12 4.59 in 2017, anchoring the bottom of that rotation. He famously didn't come to Chicago for a haircut, but rather to win. In 2016, he pitched a lot of quality innings, helping anchor down a solid Cubs rotation. He might have been near the end of his career, but his veteran presence and grit gave that team the extra edge it needed. He wasn't a MVP like Bryant, or a Cy Young finalist like Hendricks or Lester. But he was a key role player that added depth to the team, and you need those guys to win.
Thank you for being a key contributor to the best Cubs team of our lifetimes. Thank you for turning down St. Louis and coming here. Thank you for helping anchor down that 2016 rotation, eating up a ton of innings, and helping some of the young guys get over the hump. Thank you for bringing home the trophy.
I always appreciated your gritty old school attitude. It might be out of place in today's game, but it was something I liked watching. You might not have had your Cy Young stuff from 2007, but you knew how to pitch through a lineup several times on gas and guts. It was enough, and it was fun to watch.
You might have been a relic of baseball past, but you gave that 2016 a gutsy edge that it needed to get over the top. There were innings that had to get filled by a veteran presence who could keep his team in the game. You were that, the entire year. Thank you for being a part of the best memories that us Cubs fans could hope for. Thank you for giving that team the edge it needed.