Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia formally announced his plan to retire after the 2019 season.
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia formally announced his plan to retire after the 2019 season at the club's Tampa spring training complex on Saturday. After he shared the news, several notable figures from around the sports world praised Sabathia for his major league career as he prepares for his 19th season.
Lakers star LeBron James congratulated Sabathia on his "incredible" run.
"Not only is [Sabathia] one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but he'll go down as one of the great competitors to ever pick up a baseball," James said, per the Yankees. "It's been an honor to watch him play and I'm excited to see what he'll take on next."
James famously wore a Yankees hat to an Indians home playoff game against New York in 2007 while he was playing for the Cavaliers. The Indians' starting pitcher that day in their 12-3 win was Sabathia.
Sabathia's former teammate and Yankees legend Derek Jeter shared what the pitcher means to him.
"I had the pleasure of competing against CC and also with him, and have always considered him one of my favorite teammates. He rose to and exceeded the expectations and pressure," Jeter said. "[He] was a key piece to the 2009 championship team."
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte were also among those who weighed in on Sabathia's legacy.
A legend on and off the field — it’s been an honor watching @CC_Sabathia for the last 18 years and the impact he has made on the game! Looking forward to one last season! Thank you, CC! 🙏— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 16, 2019
“All I ever wanted people to remember me as, is a good teammate.” - CC Sabathia #LegaCCy pic.twitter.com/MxNqeML9JP
"All I ever wanted for people to remember me was as a good teammate," Sabathia said at his press conference, per MLB.com. "I look forward to 2019 being a championship season for us, and I'm going to give everything I have and leave it out on the field."
Sabathia, a six-time All-Star, has played for the Indians, Brewers and Yankees throughout his 18-year career. He won a Cy Young Award in 2007 in Cleveland and the 2009 World Series with the Yankees.
The veteran lefty enters his final season with a 246–153 record, 3.70 ERA and 2,986 strikeouts. Sabathia only needs 14 more to join the illustrious 3,000-strikeout club.