Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 10/31/13
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On Wednesday night, the incredible journey of John Lackey and the 2013 Boston Red Sox came full circle. At approximately 11:27 PM EST, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara got the final out on a strikeout to clinch the first World Series title for the Red Sox at Fenway Park since 1918. After the misery of the last two seasons, the chicken and beer, Bobby Valentine, etc, and the bombing this year at the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox lifted a city and brought it a World Series Championship. The Red Sox completed the greatest worst-to-first finish in Major League Baseball history. After finishing 69-93 the previous season, their worst record since the 1965 season, they had a terrific year, winning 97 games and now the World Series. But like the team itself, the Red Sox Game 6 starter John Lackey endured an unlikely journey to where he is now. A key member of the chicken and beer 2011 Red Sox collapse team, he had become a lightning rod for ridicule by Red Sox fans and missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery. This year was different though. He came into spring training leaner and in shape and the results showed. Fans took notice of John Lackey's transformation and finally began to embrace and root for him. His ERA this season was a sterling 3.52, down from a ungainly 6.41 in 2011. His turnaround paralleled the turnaround and journey of this Red Sox team. It is hard to believe that two years ago, Red Sox fans were cursing his name and now those very same fans chanted his name and gave him a standing ovation as he guided the team Wednesday night to a World Series championship. In the most important game of the season, he allowed one run in 6.2 innings, shutting down the Cardinals. "Pretty cool, man. Pretty cool. I've heard a lot of different other ones, so it was nice," Lackey told media members after the game, including ESPN Boston columnist, Joe McDonald. For now, Red Sox fans have forgiven him and this team. After the misery of the last two seasons, the chicken and beer, Bobby Valentine, etc, and the bombing this year at the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox lifted a city and brought it a World Series Championship. The Red Sox were able to accomplish and complete what the Boston Bruins unfortunately could not. Bringing a world championship back to Boston to completely heal those wounds, metaphorically speaking. "When the Sox, the Celtics, the Patriots or Bruins are champions again ... the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston St," President Barack Obama said at the memorial service in Boston back in April in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. After Wednesday night, John Lackey and the Red Sox can have all the chicken and beer they want, because they are World Series Champions.

This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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