LegaCCy: 10 standout moments from CC Sabathia's Yankees tenure
The lefty has been a mainstay in New York's rotation for a decade
CC Sabathia is set to retire following the 2019 season, his 11th in pinstripes after signing a then-record free agent deal in December 2008.
The lefty has gone 129-80 with a 3.74 ERA over 284 starts and 1,810 2/3 innings as a Yankee, in addition to over 100 innings in 19 postseason appearances and one World Series title.
With his distinguished resume, there are countless moments that have defined his time in New York, so we did our best to whittle it down to 10. Let's take a look!
10. Shutting down Red Sox in 2009 sweep
Mere hours after Alex Rodriguez's famous 15th-inning walk-off homer, the Yankees and Red Sox took the field again, both teams certainly exhausted. The Saturday matinee on Aug. 8 pitted Sabathia against Clay Buchholz, and the big lefty was ready from the start.
Sabathia set down the first 13 batters in order and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Jacoby Ellsbury broke up the bid with two outs. Not to be deterred, CC finished seven shutout innings with 123 pitches as the Yankees finished their second straight shutout victory.
9. Dominating Mariners in the rain
Sabathia may have had his best year in New York during the 2011 season as he accumulated 6.4 WAR and struck out 230 batters in 237 1/3 innings. On July 26 that year, he put together one of his best starts with the Yankees.
Facing a lackluster Mariners squad, he had all of his pitches working. Sabathia struck out seven consecutive batters from the fourth-to-sixth innings and carried a perfect game into the seventh. Unfortunately for CC, rain delayed the inning. He came back out to try and finish the perfecto, but Brendan Ryan broke it up with a single eight outs shy.
Still, Sabathia finished with a career-high 14 strikeouts in seven innings as the Yankees won the game, 4-1. Though not perfect, it was as dominant as he's looked in New York.
8. First start at new Yankee Stadium
This is the only Yankees loss on this list, but it was a big moment nonetheless. Sabathia got the ball on April 16, 2009, becoming the first pitcher at the new Yankee Stadium.
The southpaw picked up the first strikeout at the park in the first inning and held the Indians to just one run over 5 2/3 innings. He had the misfortune of facing Cliff Lee, who allowed just one run himself en route to a win. Sabathia kept the Yankees in the game while dealing with poor command.
7. Opening up Twins ALDS series with wins
We're cheating a little here, but this is two for the price of one. Sabathia started Game 1 of both the 2009 and 2010 ALDS against the Twins and walked away the winner in both despite allowing the first runs each time.
In both games, he overcame his slow start and settled down, keeping the Yankees in the game while their offense went to work. That's the type of start you need from your ace when they're off the game and can still win without their best stuff.
6. Near no-hitter against the Rays
For 110 pitches on April 10, 2010, Sabathia no-hit the Rays in Tampa Bay. Alhough Kelly Shoppach broke up the effort on his 111th pitch, CC's standout game shouldn't be forgotten.
Sabathia was making just his second start of the year and had to grind despite the lack of hits. He struck out just five and instead forced 11 groundballs en route to the shutdown performance.
Removed after the hit, Sabathia wasn't going to get a chance to finish the no-hitter anyway. Joe Girardi had Mariano Rivera warming (despite an eight-run lead) and was prepared to have him finish the eventual 10-0 win.
5. 2017 ALCS Game 3
With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the 2017 ALCS, CC Sabathia held down the Astros and got the Yankees back in the series. A forgotten win after the comeback in Game 4, the victory was just as pivotal in turning around the ill-fated series.
Tossing six scoreless frames, Sabathia posted his best start of that postseason. He faced a righty-laden Houston lineup and used his cutter to get in on their hands and force weak contact. The savvy veteran pitched around three hits and four walks to pick up his eighth career postseason win.
4. That's for you, *****
It wasn't a playoff game. It wasn't even a highly important regular season game. No, Sabathia's start last Sept. 27 in Tampa was something else entirely.
With the Yankees beating up on the Rays in the sixth inning, Tampa reliever Andrew Kittredge threw behind Austin Romine. Sabathia wasn't about to stand for an uncalled-for act of aggression and voiced his displeasure before following it up in the bottom of the sixth by hitting Jesus Sucre in the leg.
At 54 pitches, Sabathia was ejected two innings shy of a $500,000 bonus, but he didn't care (and got the bonus anyway). He chose to stand up for his teammates as he's done throughout his career. His profane words towards the Rays dugout went viral and are immortalized in his Yankees' legacy.
3. 2017 ALDS Game 5
In a throwback to prime CC, Sabathia took the hill in a winner-take-all Game 5 and toppled his former team in Cleveland. He set down a potent Indians lineup in order through three innings and struck out nine over just 4 2/3 innings, walking none.
He ran into trouble and allowed four straight hits to close the outing, but David Robertson escaped damage in the fifth and got the ball to Aroldis Chapman, who closed out the series victory. Sabathia's gutsy performance tippified his return to prominence within the rotation late in his career.
2. 2012 ALDS Game 5
On Oct. 12, 2012, Sabathia hit an inflection point in his career. For the final time, he took the hill as the ace and workhorse of the Yankees, the dominant starter they'd choose above anyone.
Another winner-take-all Game 5, Sabathia went the distance to eliminate the Orioles. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks while fanning nine. He was not deterred by the lack of run support early in the 3-1 win and used 121 pitches to finish off Baltimore.
The Yankees had played each of the past two nights and gone to extra innings, so his performance unburdened the bullpen as well. Although the Bombers would be swept in the ALCS, Sabathia was at his finest.
1. Short rest, ALCS MVP and a World Series crown
To top the list, it's only right to throw Sabathia's late 2009 postseason run together into one item as it stands above his other achievements in New York.
After dispatching with the Twins, the Yankees faced the 97-win Angels. Sabathia allowed just two runs in 16 innings over two starts with the latter outing coming on short rest. The dangerous Los Angeles lineup of Anaheim couldn't put a dent into the prime-aged hurler, who won ALCS MVP for his efforts.
CC wasn't quite so dominant against the Phillies in the World Series, dropping Game 1. However, he gritted through a Game 4 start on short rest and put the Yankees in position to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Sabathia received his lone World Series ring and was one of, if not the, biggest reason for the Yankees' 27th title.