Yankees C.C. Sabathia says goodbye with touching letter

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees celebrates after defeating the Houston Astros in game five of the American League Championship Series with a score of 4 to 1 at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees celebrates after defeating the Houston Astros in game five of the American League Championship Series with a score of 4 to 1 at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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In his 19th and final professional season, Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia literally left it all out on the field, as the last throw he’d ever make, caused a dislocated left shoulder in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Just one day from the start of the World Series between the Astros and Nationals, there is still so much to digest from the Yankees disappointing ALCS Game 6 loss.

However, we’ve got all winter to talk about what could have been, the likelihood of what the Hot Stove may bring and, eventually, a look ahead to spring training.

But on this day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about C.C. Sabathia one final time. Sure, the possibility remains (as speculation suggests) that the Big Fella could take a job with the Yankees as a special advisor, similar to what Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran have done over the past few seasons.

And in a little less than five years, when Sabathia is eligible for Cooperstown, the debate will rage on as to whether or not he’s a first-ballot selection.

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I’ll make a quick plea to the BBWAA: Sabathia is only one of three left-handers EVER with over 3,000 strikeouts — and his 251 wins were the most of any current player that began as a big leaguer after 2000.

Naturally, someone with an agenda with point out that Sabathia’s 3.74 ERA would tie him for the third-highest earned run average of any pitcher to gain entry to the HOF. However, Mike Mussina (3.68 ERA) and Jack Morris (3.90 ERA) have recently been elected. So even if those two men don’t better Sabathia’s case for a first-ballot slot, it can only help in the years to come.

However, pitching in what is widely considered to be an era of offensive explosion, C.C. was a six-time All-Star, the 2007 AL Cy Young winner and a World Series champ in 2009.

Although Sabathia openly admitted he returned to the Bronx for one final season because he legitimately felt the Yankees could win World Series No. 28, he was pitching on borrowed time.

A bad back, degenerative knees, and a troublesome shoulder only allowed him to appear in 23 regular-season games in 2019 (107.1 innings) and just one full inning in two postseason appearances. His 5-8 record, 4.95 ERA, 1.407 WHIP, and 5.6 FIP were all well below his career standards and should be chalked up to him being 39.

Known as a tremendous teammate, mentor and friend, Robinson Cano definitively called Sabathia a “First Ballot Hall of Famer.” Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin wrote on Twitter:

"They don’t come any better. Real pleasure to compete against, be a teammate with and most of all a great friend."

And earlier in the week, former manager Joe Girardi broke down on MLB Network as he spoke about his love for his former player.

dark. Next. What went wrong for the Yankees in the ALCS

It was a pleasure watching you for 11 years in pinstripes, C.C. No matter where life takes you on this next adventure, you’ll always be a Yankee. Thank you.