C.C. Sabathia officially retired on Monday, October 21st after the New York Yankees were eliminated from the 2019 Postseason. Sabathia played in the league for 19 years and pitched in 561 games. He was voted into 6 All-Star games and won the 2007 Cy Young Award in a tight race against John Lackey and Josh Beckett. Sabathia ended his career with a record of 251-161 and an ERA of 3.74. He pitched an impressive 3.577.1 innings and had 3,093 strikeouts. Sabathia has a long and dominant resume that should surely put him in the Hall of Fame when the time comes.
As I stated before, C.C. Sabathia pitched in 561 career games and unbeknownst to some people out of the state of Wisconsin, 17 of those games (3%) came with the Brewers. However, Sabathia left a legacy that may never be matched not only in Milwaukee but throughout the entire MLB.
The Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia on July 7th when they were 3.5 games back in the NL Central and in the middle of a tight Wild Card race. They sent four prospects, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta, and Michael Brantley to the Indians in exchange for the big righty.
For the Brewers, C.C. Sabathia was nothing short of amazing. He put on one of the greatest pitching performances the league has ever seen. He was so good that some people even consider Sabathia one of the greatest Brewer pitchers of all-time even though he only pitched in 17 games. In those 17 games, Sabathia threw 130.2 innings and had an unreal ERA of 1.65. He had a remarkable 7 complete games which means 41% of his starts in Milwaukee were complete games and 3 of those were shutouts. Both of those numbers led the entire National League. Sabathia also had 128 strikeouts and a dominant WHIP of 1.003. The Brewers were 14-3 in the games C.C. started. His numbers were good enough to get him into the top six of both NL Cy Young and NL MVP voting.
Sabathia’s best stretch in his time with Milwaukee was during his last three starts. The Brewers needed every win that they could get to stay in the playoffs and they ran with Sabathia. His last three outings were all on three days rest, something that would be unheard of in today’s game, and Sabathia threw 21.2 innings with an ERA of 0.83. It’s an understatement to say without C.C. Sabathia the Milwaukee Brewers would not have made the 2008 Postseason and ended their 25-year playoff drought.
Sabathia’s run in 2008 was a perfect example of incredible pitching to go along with incredible selflessness. C.C. knew that he was going to get a big paycheck in the offseason but he pitched for the Brewers like he didn’t care. He pitched on three, four days, rest knowing the long term risks. However, Sabathia acted the way every superstar pitcher should act and had the attitude of just give me the damn ball and let me pitch. He was the definition of a true workhorse.
After the Brewers, Sabathia signed a 7-year, $161 million deal with the New York Yankees. Even when this happened, Brewer fans weren’t upset, they knew Sabathia was a rental, but they were still overjoyed with what #52 brought to the team.
The 2008 C.C. Sabathia run was one of best the moments in the history of baseball and we here at Cream City Central are extremely grateful to have experienced that. Congratulations on an incredible career C.C. and good luck on all of your future endeavors.