- July 21, 1980
- 6' 7"
- 290 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-08-2001 with CLE
- Allstar Selections:
- 2007 CY, 2007 TSN, 2009 ALCS
Carsten Charles "CC" Sabathia (born July 21, 1980) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. Upon signing with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season, Sabathia became the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history.
Sabathia played the first seven and a half seasons of his career with the Cleveland Indians, where he won the 2007 AL Cy Young Award. He played the second half of the 2008 MLB season with the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to the NL Wild Card, their first playoff appearance in 26 years. Sabathia is one of the most durable pitchers in MLB, easily averaging over 200 innings pitched per season during his career.
High School Career
Sabathia was born in Vallejo, California, and attended Vallejo High School, where he lettered in baseball, basketball, and football. As a teenager, Sabathia played summer baseball in the Major League Baseball youth program Rebuilding Baseball in Inner cities (RBI). In baseball, he compiled a mark of 6–0 with an 0.77 ERA (46 2⁄3 IP, 14 H, 82 K) during his senior season. Coming out of the draft he was the top high school prospect in Northern California according to Baseball America.
In football, he was an all-conference tight end. He received scholarship offers to play college football, including one from UCLA, and actually signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Hawaiʻi.
Professional Baseball Career
Cleveland Indians (2001–2008)
Sabathia was drafted in the first round (20th overall) by the Indians in the 1998 MLB Draft. He signed for a $1.3 million bonus.
In 2000, he was selected for the 28-man United States Olympic Team roster. He appeared in one pre-Olympic tournament game in Sydney, Australia, but was not on the official 24-man, Gold Medal-winning roster because he was called up by the Cleveland Indians. He was named the Indians' 2000 Minor League Player of the Year (receiving the "Lou Boudreau Award").
In 2001, he was the youngest player in the Major Leagues. Sabathia led the league in hits per 9 innings pitched (7.44), was third in the league in win–loss percentage (17–5, .773), fourth in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (8.53), sixth in wins, and seventh in strikeouts (171). He finished second in the AL voting for Rookie of the Year, behind only Ichiro Suzuki. For his performance, Sabathia was rewarded with a four-year $9.5 million contract, with a club option for 2006, on February 23, 2002. In the 2002 season, he was tenth in the AL in strikeouts, with 149.
In 2003, he had the tenth-best ERA in the AL (3.60). He threw the fastest fastball in the AL in 2003, averaging 93.9 miles per hour. He was also named to the American League All-Star team for the first time, with a repeat appearance in 2004.
The Indians picked up their $7 million club option for 2006 on April 27, 2005 and Sabathia signed a two-year, $17.75 million deal. In 2005, he was fourth in the AL in strikeouts/9 IP (7.37), seventh in strikeouts (161) and eighth in wins (15). This marked his fifth straight season of double digit wins to open a career. He threw the fastest fastball in the AL in 2005, averaging 94.7 miles per hour. He also hit his first career home run as a batter in interleague play off of Elizardo Ramirez in May. The Indians went 20–11 in his starts. In 2006, he led the major leagues with 6 complete games. He also led the AL in shutouts (2), was third in ERA (3.22), sixth in strikeouts per 9 IP (8.03) and eighth in strikeouts (172). He became the first left-handed pitcher to start his career with six consecutive seasons of double digit wins.
Sabathia collected his 1,000th career strikeout on May 21, fanning the player who beat him out for Rookie of the Year honors: Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners. He was also named to the American League All-Star team for the third time. On September 28, he became the youngest pitcher (27 years, 69 days) to record 100 career wins since Greg Maddux in 1993. On October 23, Sabathia won the Players Choice Award for Outstanding AL Pitcher. His pitching performance led the Cleveland Indians to their first American League Central Division Championship since 2001, his rookie season. For his performance, he was awarded the 2007 American League Cy Young Award joining Gaylord Perry as the only two Cleveland Indians pitchers to ever win the award. (Cliff Lee became the third the following season.)  Sabathia also won the coveted Warren Spahn Award given to the best left-handed pitcher in the Majors. Despite his strong regular season, Sabathia did not perform well against the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. In two starts, he went 0–2 with a 10.45 ERA.
Sabathia began the 2008 season with a 6–8 record and a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts. He was leading the American League in strikeouts (123) and strikeouts per 9.0 innings (9.0) while ranking second in innings pitched (122.1) and tied for second in complete games (3). However, with the Indians out of playoff contention, and with Sabathia an impending free agent, the Indians sought to trade Sabathia.
Milwaukee Brewers (2008)
On July 7, 2008, Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson. During his press conference, Sabathia made it known to the assembled members of the media that he would prefer his name to be spelled "CC" rather than "C.C." He recorded his first win with the Brewers on July 8, 2008 against the Colorado Rockies. Sabathia was 17–10 overall (11–2 with Milwaukee) with a 2.70 ERA and was second in the majors (behind Tim Lincecum) with 251 strikeouts. Sabathia pitched three complete games in his first four starts with the Brewers, winning all four.
On July 30, 2008, Sabathia took out a large $12,870 ad in the sports section of Cleveland's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer. The ad, signed by Sabathia, his wife Amber, and his family read:
"Thank you for 10 great years ... You've touched our lives with your kindness, love and generosity. We are forever grateful! It's been a privilege and an honor!"
On August 31, 2008, Sabathia threw what was ruled as a one-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. The one hit for the Pirates came off of a check swing by Andy LaRoche in the fifth inning that rolled fair and was bobbled by Sabathia on an attempted bare-handed pickup. The team sent in an appeal to Major League Baseball to try to get the hit ruled as an error, but were unsuccessful. Sabathia struck out eleven in the Brewers' 7–0 win over the Pirates, making Sabathia's ninth complete game in the 2008 season. On Sept. 28, 2008, Sabathia pitched a 4-hitter against the Cubs to win 3–1 in the final game of the season, clinching the wild card for the Brewers—their first-ever postseason berth as a National League club and their first since losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 World Series. It was Sabathia's 10th complete game of the year, the most complete games by any pitcher in a single season since Randy Johnson threw 12 in 1999. In 2008 Sabathia had the most effective slider among major league starting pitchers. When batters swung at his pitches, they failed to make any contact 28% of the time, the highest percentage among major league starting pitchers.
Sabathia started game 2 of the NLDS. The Brewers were heavily favored to win behind Sabathia, but Sabathia faltered, surrendering 5 runs in 3.2 innings, including a walk to the pitcher Brett Myers and a grand slam to Shane Victorino.
Sabathia was sixth in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun, Manny Ramirez, and Lance Berkman.
New York Yankees (2009–present)
On December 18, 2008, Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees. It is the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. On March 26, 2009, manager Joe Girardi announced that Sabathia would be the Opening Day starter and the starter for the home opener at the new Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia won his first championship ring with the Yankees, finishing 19–8 with a 3.37 ERA. Sabathia also won the American League Championship Series (ALCS) Most Valuable Player Award for his performance in the 2009 ALCS. Sabathia finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander.
On April 10, 2010, Sabathia took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. With two out in the inning, former teammate Kelly Shoppach ripped a single to left field, ending the no-hit bid.
On July 4, he earned his fourth All-Star selection, and his first as a Yankee. On August 22, Sabathia recorded his 16th consecutive start of at least six innings allowing three earned runs or less, breaking a tie with Ron Guidry (from his Cy Young Award winning 1978 season) for the longest streak in franchise history.
On September 18, he defeated the Baltimore Orioles to become baseball's first 20 game winner in 2010. The win also marks the first time he has ever won 20 games in a single season in his career. Sabathia had won 19 games in a season twice previously: in 2007 with the Indians and 2009 in his first season with the Yankees.
After the season, Sabathia was diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his right knee, after allowing 10 earned runs and 22 hits in 16 postseason innings, requiring arthroscopic surgery. Sabathia began therapy immediately after the surgery and began his regular routine in preparation for spring training after three to six weeks. He lost 25 pounds during the offseason to prevent future problems with his knee.
On July 26, 2011, Sabathia took a perfect game through 6 1⁄3 innings against the Seattle Mariners, retiring the first 19 batters he faced in a game interrupted twice due to rain. He ended up striking out 14 batters (setting a career high), as well as pitching another one-hitter (with the help of relief pitchers David Robertson and Mariano Rivera).
For his performance in July 2011, Sabathia was named AL Pitcher of the Month. He posted a 4-1 record with a 0.92 ERA during the month, striking out 50 batters and walking 13 in 39 innings. He also pitched two complete games and one shutout.
Though his contract contains an opt-out clause that could allow him to become a free agent after the 2011 season, Sabathia said he has no intention of exercising it as he loves playing for the New York Yankees and his family loves life in New York.
Despite throwing with his left hand, Sabathia is right-handed. Sabathia has four plus pitches: a fastball, a more rarely used sinking fastball, a slider (which Sabathia and some announcers call a "cutter"), and changeup. Once ahead in the count, he primarily uses his changeup to strike out right-handed batters, and his slider to strike out left-handers. He also exhibits good command of his pitches, posting a 5.65 K/BB ratio in 2007.
Sabathia holds a lifetime postseason record of 5 wins and 4 losses in 10 games. He has pitched a total of 61 1⁄3 postseason innings, giving up 61 hits, 25 walks and 30 earned runs resulting in a 4.40 ERA. He also struck out 56 batters. In the 2007 ALCS he beaned 3 batters.
As of the end of the 2010 season, Sabathia has acquired 25 hits in 101 plate appearances, making him one of the more successful pitchers from a hitting standpoint. On one occasion, Sabathia hit a 440-foot home run on June 21, 2008, off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park. He commented later, saying "I told everybody I was trying to hit homers today because I had two singles last year and everybody was all over me, saying I was a singles hitter. It was awesome." On July 13, 2008, in his second game with the Brewers, Sabathia hit his second home run of the season off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, becoming the third pitcher in history to homer in both leagues in the same season and the first since Earl Wilson did it in 1970 with Detroit and San Diego.
Sabathia's reputation of pitching a large number of effective innings each season has led to sports broadcasters often referring to him as a workhorse.
Sabathia and his wife, Amber, have two sons, Carsten Charles III (born September 15, 2003) and Carter Charles (born August 5, 2010) and two daughters; Jaeden Arie (born September 20, 2005) and Cyia Cathleen (born October 11, 2008). The family used to reside in Fairfield, California outside his hometown of Vallejo, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Sabathia signed with the Yankees, the family moved to Alpine, New Jersey and Sabathia and family said they love life in New Jersey, as well as being so close to New York City.
Sabathia also appeared on a promotional video for Battlefield Bad Company 2 against "Random Grenade Throws" which showed him doing a public service announcement about random grenade throws. It spoofs the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 public service announcement with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. Sabathia remains very close friends with former teammates Cliff Lee and Prince Fielder.
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42. "Old Friends Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia Set to Square Off in World Series Game 1 – New York Yankees". Associated Press. NESN.com. October 28, 2009. http://www.nesn.com/2009/10/old-friends-cliff-lee-and-cc-sabathia-set-to-square-off-in-world-series-game-1.html. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
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- 2009 ALCS MVP, 2009 World Series, AL Rookie of the Year, Al TSN Pitcher of the Year, All Star, C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland Indians, Cy Young Award, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Warren Spahn Award, Wild Card