Ever since learning of CC Sabathia’s close call and subsequent angioplasty surgery, I can’t stop thinking he should retire now and never look back.
Just like the tantalizing slider CC Sabathia throws that looks like a strike but isn’t, his close brush with a heart attack that wasn’t should be a reminder that strikes and heart attacks are not equal.
I would venture that until Aaron Judge came along, no one has personified what it means to wear the Yankees pinstripes more gracefully than CC Sabathia. Grit and determination on the pitcher’s mound have been his calling card for ten seasons in the Bronx, and he’s always answered the bell when called on to pitch a critical game in the playoffs.
I would venture, too, those same qualities are what’s driving Sabathia to answer the bell when the season begins in April, despite the warning bell that has sounded regarding his health.
And maybe it’s because I identify with CC so much as a “big guy” who had the same heart procedure and lived to tell about it. And despite how much I enjoy watching him as a pitcher’s pitcher, maybe it’s time for CC Sabathia to pack it in to enjoy the rest of his life with his family in New Jersey.
CC Sabathia may think it’s about “the numbers” and how they affect his chances of being elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame, but as I pointed out yesterday in a column, if total wins continue to be the benchmark for pitchers in Cooperstown, Sabathia has already amassed more wins (246) than half the pitchers currently in the HOF. And this includes greats such as Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, and a host of others.
Likewise, Sabathia’s reason for continuing his career can’t be about money. According to Baseball Reference, CC Sabathia has already earned $252,317,412 throughout his nineteen big league seasons, and that doesn’t count salaries earned from New York City rich endorsements.
So it reduces down to a question of whether or not the pocket change ($10 million) he will earn in 2019 is worth the possible consequences to his health when his family and future generations of Sabathia’s are set for life.
As reported yesterday, according to Westfield, N.J., cardiologist Dr. Alan Kalischer, a stent at Sabathia’s age isn’t routine.
“A couple of extra pills and changing his eating habits” – sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Not!
CC Sabathia is a man’s man, and he’s already proven that once when he gave in to the demons of alcohol, calling on his family, teammates, and friends to walk him through rehab successfully. Sabathia’s current battle with his health is eerily similar as an accident waiting to happen, especially when you consider the trauma Sabathia puts on his body every time he pitches a baseball.
I’m not a doctor; I’m just a fan. And I’m admittedly not CC Sabathia. All I know for sure, though, is that he’s been on my mind during this holiday season of giving, and I can only say – CC Sabathia has given enough to fans, his family, the Yankees, and the city of New York.
In fact, he’s given more than enough, and it’s time for him to begin life after baseball, waiting only for that call that is sure to come five years from now when the Hall calls and CC answers the phone from the comfort of his home – a healthy and fulfilled man.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball