Mike Tyson's punching bags absorbed fewer blows than John Lackey last year. The right-hander could do no right during the most trying year of his life.

On the field, he stunk, posting the highest ERA in Red Sox history before being listed as an accomplice in the beer and fried chicken scandal. Off the field, he faced the double whammy of his wife's cancer and subsequent reports of a potential divorce.

Lackey was derided as everything from an $82.5?million bust to a bad human being. But the black-and-white characterizations missed the mark. They did not tell the story.