In a press conference in front of the Steinbrenners, most of the Yankee roster and his wife and kids, C.C. Sabathia has officially announced his intentions to retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Included in a statement released by the team was written statements from a wide-ranging collection of voices, including Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi, LeBron James, Fat Joe, Steve Kerr, the major of Sabathia’s hometown Bob Sampayan, Tiki Barber and more. It’s quite the show of support for Sabathia, whose storied career will come to an end after 2019, his 19th year in the league. In a career that included stops with the Indians, Brewers and Yankees, Sabathia has thus far amassed 246 wins in 3,470 innings across 538 regular season appearances, all starts. Presently, he trails Bartolo Colon by one win for the lead among active players.
Sabathia is a 6-time All-Star and American League Cy Young award winner in 2007. He was named MVP of the ALCS in 2009 after going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in helping the Yankees down the Los Angeles Angels to win the pennant. The Yanks, of course, won the World Series that season, with Sabathia earning his keep in two World Series starts against the Phillies, though the Yanks split the two games in which Sabathia started. Though Sabathia’s career can largely be viewed as a two-part story – the first part in Cleveland, the second with the Yankees – his most memorable performance might be the work he put in for half a season in Milwaukee in 2008. He famously went 11-2 down the stretch with a 1.65 ERA and an insane 7 complete games and three shutouts in 17 starts. Going on short rest multiple times, Sabathia put on a show of endurance and durability plucked from a different era. In doing so, he also became the only pitcher of the Modern Era (since 1900) to record 120 strikeouts with two teams in a single season.
We could spend all day lauding Sabathia’s many accolades, and he’s not done yet. For now, Sabathia is fifth in AL history with 2,858 strikeouts, the most ever by a lefty. He is the active leader in that category, as well as innings pitched and quality starts. He has a good chance of overtaking Colon at some point this season for the active lead in wins. The Yankees are likely to closely monitor Sabathia’s workload this season, though he continues to pitch well deep into his thirties, taking 29 turns last year with a 3.65 ERA in 153 innings. Today’s announcement grants Sabathia, 38, the opportunity of a farewell tour as he makes his final starts in ballparks around the league.