For the past decade — or at least since Derek Jeter retired in 2014 — CC Sabathia has been the heart and soul of the Yankees.
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia underwent an angioplasty, and had a stent placed in his heart a month after signing a one-year $8 million deal with the 27-time World Champs for what the veteran southpaw says will be his last season in pinstripes.
Reports say CC, 38, is recovering well and will be ready to go by the start of the season.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018
That’s great news for Yankees fans who have supported Sabathia every step of the way during his Yankees career. In return, he’s been the same consistent, calm leader, fierce competitor and clubhouse gem for the Yankees during his decade with the team.
Statement from Brian Cashman regarding CC Sabathia’s health: pic.twitter.com/YwmkD4Z8UJ
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 21, 2018
He’s one of the few players who got big money in New York, accepted the challenge, embraced it and was not only successful on the field but became a part of the community. CC has spent significant time and money helping underserved Bronx and Harlem kids have access to the resources needed to sustain their love for baseball.
Don't forget, to vote for @CC_Sabathia to take home the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award. We appreciate everything CC does to give back to the community and youth. We wouldn’t have reached so many milestones without his support! https://t.co/9s5hpWzTQL pic.twitter.com/NMPoBOvNTo
— PitCCh In Foundation (@PitCChInFdn) September 17, 2018
CC came to the Yankees at a time when the franchise was living out the baseball version of the classic Roc-A-Fella records comedic biopic “Death of a Dynasty.”
After winning four championship in five years from 1996-2000, the Bronx Bombers were riding an eight-year championship drought. They had come close a few times, but were lacking an ace arm in the mold of a Roger Clemens or Andy Pettite, to be the anchor of the staff and a stopper in the playoffs.
The 2008 offseason was one of those memorable Yankees summer’s where they spared no expense and went big-name hunting. The Boston Red Sox were coming off World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 and George Steinbrenner was aging — just two years from his death in 2010. The Boss wanted to see one more title in his lifetime.
In December, they signed Sabathia who had already won a Cy Young award with the Cleveland Indians and was coming off a 2008 season in which he threw 10 complete games, the most complete games by any pitcher in a single season since Randy Johnson threw 12 in 1999.
CC was a legit ace and a horse who could give you heavy innings and shut down hitters in the clutch. His net worth grew by leaps and bounds after he signed the seven year, $161 million contract which made him the ninth highest paid player and the highest paid pitcher in MLB history.
He didn’t come to New York alone. The Yankees dished out over $400 million for CC, Texas slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira ($180 million) and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett ($82.5 million) in the offseason of 2008
CC was the gem of the bunch. He immediately established himself as the ace of the Yankees and one of the best investments they have ever made. In his first full season in pinstripes CC finished 19–8 with a 3.37 ERA, 197 strikeouts in 230 innings, a 1.15 WHIP. His 19 wins were tied for the most in the major leagues that year.
In five postseason starts, Sabathia went 3–1 with a 1.98 ERA in 36 1⁄3 innings with 32 strikeouts. Sabathia finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting, but he elevated to No. 1 in the hearts of Yankees fans. He was the ALCS MVP in 2009 and is a three-time Warren Spahn award winner.
In 2010, CC won 21 games, becoming one of 15 Black Aces (Black pitchers with 20 wins in a season) in the history of the game.
In 10 season with the Yankees, CC is 129-80 and has finished Top 5 in the Cy Young voting and made the All-Star team four times.
When he completes his MLB career at the end of what he hopes is a 2019 championship season, CC will retire with more than 250 wins and 3000 K’s.
The Yankees haven’t won a championship since that 2009 season, but the drought can’t be attributed to lack of effort. CC’s had setbacks in his personal life that kept him off the field at times during the last five seasons. He had a public battle with alcoholism and his struggles with weight have also been well documented, but his resilience is supreme and the lefty has always bounced back from injury and personal strife to largely be a major contributor to any Yankees playoff run.
Ignorant baseball fans with no true understanding of CC Sabathia’s impact questioned why New York brought him back for one last season. Truth be told, $8 million is a bargain for a guy who earned his stripes by leading the charge in keeping the Yankees highly competitive after the Dynasty Era and even after Derek Jeter retired in 2014.
CC’s service to the pinstripes place him among the most beloved Yankees of all time . He’s become the bridge to this new Yankees Era featuring young gunners such as Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton. Value like Sabathia’s can’t always be measured in the numbers because much of his success as a person and a player comes from the heart.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) December 21, 2018