CC Sabathia has had an enormous impact on baseball. In the past few years, Major League Baseball has made a large attempt to become “cool” again. It is a sport that has so much tradition and history that it can sometimes be stuck in its ways. With the rise of social media and the fast pace play of football and basketball, baseball has had a hard time appealing to the youth of America. Meanwhile, the sport has attempted to speed up the game with little things like a pitch clock. Players like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Alex Bregman were and still are viewed as players who can make baseball cool again. However, one guy who is often overlooked as a polarizing figure in MLB is CC Sabathia.
CC Sabathia’s Massive Impact
Sabathia is someone who brought some swagger to the diamond each night. The most influential and coolest basketball player of this generation is Lebron James who played most of his career in Cleveland. During that time, James was taking over the entire sports world. However, there was another African-American in the same city in his prime that was doing pretty well himself. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, Sabathia fit in with some of these NBA and NFL guys who are so popular in today’s culture. Additionally, Sabathia is a left-handed pitcher. Something about being a lefty was cool to younger kids at the time. Maybe it is because Michael Vick was the coolest Quarterback at the time and was also a lefty. Either way, Sabathia had that something special about him.
On Tuesday night, Sabathia surpassed the 3,000 strikeout milestone for his career. Only 16 pitchers have accomplished that before him. Even more impressive is that he would become just the third left-handed pitcher to accomplish this feat. The other two left-handers are legends and Hall of Fame pitchers Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton. Sabathia’s career record is now 247-154, which is three wins shy of becoming just the 13th pitcher in MLB history to record 3,000 strikeouts and 250 wins.
Hall Of Fame Potential
Sabathia has never completely dominated to the point where people could not believe the year he was having. However, he has been extremely consistent over the course of his 19- year career. He is 33rd all-time in starts (541) and 73rd all-time in innings pitched (3,485). He led the league twice in wins in 2009 and 2010. Also, he has demonstrated impressive control throughout the years, leading the league twice in strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2007 and 2012. When you compare Sabathia to Hall-of-Famer Mike Mussina it looks pretty similar. Sabathia and Mussina have essentially the same career ERA and innings pitched. Mussina has 270 wins to Sabathia’s 247. However, Sabathia has close to 200 more strikeouts and counting.
CC Sabathia is retiring at the end of this year. It is important to not only consider if he’s a worthy Hall of Fame candidate but also his impact on the game. As stated earlier, everything about Sabathia as a human being is unique. He’s a physical specimen, a left-handed pitcher, and also an African- American. He pitched on some great playoff teams in the same city as Lebron James. He is fifth all-time in career earnings behind Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and some of MLB’s best hitters ever. He is the highest paid pitcher ever. He played 10 seasons for the New York Yankees, baseball’s most famous team. Whether we realize it or not, Sabathia impacted baseball as much as any player ever. After recording his 3,000th strikeout Tuesday, let’s all as fans appreciate what we have before it is gone.
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