CC Sabathia’s Great Career Comes To A Heartbreaking And Fitting End
CC Sabathia has had a truly great career; a career which is arguably Hall of Fame caliber. With him announcing his retirement, we knew his career would potentially end in the ALCS, but not like this.
Sabathia has pitched 19 years in the majors. What made that career truly remarkable is he almost lasted all 19 years without a shoulder or elbow problem which required season ending surgery. This made him a rubber armed and durable starter.
Sabathia always took the ball. That was no more evident than when he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. After that trade, the Brewers rode him hard to an almost unethical point.
Sabathia was a 27 year old in his prime set to cash-in in free agency, and the Brewers were not going to be in a position to sign him. Despite that, he’d make four consecutive starts on three days rest. Where we’ve seen other pitchers contemplate their careers, Sabathia took the ball, and he’d pitch the Brewers into the postseason.
Sabathia was rewarded with a massive contract with the Yankees, and he’d help pitch that Yankees team to the 2009 World Series.
With that World Series title, a Cy Young, six All Star appearances, and 3,093 strikeouts (third most by a LHP all-time), he arguably had a Hall of Fame career. However, just because he had a great career, it doesn’t always mean it was a charmed one.
Throughout his career, Sabathia has battled weight issues. He’s been battling knee problems for nearly a decade now, which is roughly half his career.
In 2015, Sabathia had his most difficult battle. Late in that year as the Yankees were readying themselves for the Wild Card Game, he admitted he had a problem, and his season would end as he sought treatment for his alcoholism.
Sabathia got the treatment he needed, and he persevered. He’d even have a bit of a renaissance two years later going 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA for the 2017 Yankees.
That did not mean Sabathia was free and clear of all medical issues. In fact, Sabathia would need a stent put in his heart in December 2018. Seeing that, it should come as no surprise the 38 year old Sabathia would announce the 2019 season would be his last.
What was remarkable was despite the knee and heart issues, Sabathia would find his way onto the ALCS roster. He’d contribute too as a LOOGY getting Michael Brantley out in the 10th inning of Game 2. He appeared for a second time, tonight, in Game 4.
Given how Game 4 was unfolding with balls eating up DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres, you could see things were going to end badly, but you never expected it to end this badly. With a 2-1 count to George Springer, something happened, and the rubber arm of Sabathia’s finally broke.
CC Sabathia leaves tonight's game at Yankee Stadium for what could be his last career appearance.pic.twitter.com/i6GR7JEjhD
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 18, 2019
When the great ones go, you want to see them end it on their own terms. You want them to walk off the field. The very last thing you want to see is them leaving due to injury, but that’s what happened to Sabathia.
That’s how it ends to one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time. That’s how things end for a man who used his platform to give so much back through his PitCCh In Foundation. After all CC Sabathia has overcome, he left with an injury instead of leaving the field after recording that last big out.
Seeing this is the way it ends for Sabathia is heartbreaking. He and his storied career deserved better than that.
Hopefully, Sabathia can take solace in the fact he literally gave all he could give, and there was nothing else he could do. There is no room for second guessing himself because he undoubtedly gave everything he could.
Perhaps, while heartbreaking, it is a fitting end. After all, time and again, Sabathia took the ball. He always took the ball until he finally could not take it anymore.
As he departed, he received an ovation from the fans and the players on the field. He left with the admiration of millions of baseball fans in New York, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and the entire world.
This is the end for Sabathia. While he likely wanted a better end, an end befitting of a great career on and off the field, he can hold his head high. He gave his all to this game, and he received back all the respect he showed it.
Congratulations to CC Sabathia on a great career.