CLEVELAND — On Wednesday, the 2022 Greater Cleveland Sports Awards paid tribute to one of the best pitchers in Cleveland baseball history, as former Indians ace CC Sabathia was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Union Mortgage.
The Lifetime Achievement Award "is given to a person who has dedicated their lives to the advancement of sports in Cleveland." Sabathia received the award from two of his former teammates: Kenny Lofton and Jensen Lewis.
Selected by the Indians in the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft, the left-handed Sabathia made his big league debut in 2001 and immediately established himself as one of baseball's best pitchers. In eight seasons in Cleveland, the Vallejo, California, native totaled a 106-71 record, 3.83 ERA and 1,265 strikeouts and won the 2007 American League Cy Young Award before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2008 season.
After helping lead Milwaukee to the playoffs, Sabathia signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees, whom he spent 11 seasons with and helped lead to the 2009 World Series title. Having retired following the 2019 season as one of just 18 pitchers to have tallied at least 3,000 career strikeouts, Sabathia is considered a likely candidate to one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
During both his playing days and retirement, Sabathia has been an active member of the Cleveland community. Last summer, the six-time All-Star had a baseball field at Luke Easter Park, which was previously built during 2019 MLB All-Star Week festivities, renamed in his honor to recognize his efforts on and off the field.
"To have a chance to have a field named after me, our legacy, to forever be here in Cleveland means so much to me," Sabathia said at the field dedication last August. "It's kind of all I ever wanted."
Past recipients of the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement Award include:
- 2002 – Jim Brown, former running back, Cleveland Browns
- 2003 – Mark H. McCormack, Founder, International Management Group (IMG)
- 2004 – Bob Feller, former pitcher, Cleveland Indians
- 2005 – Richard Jacobs, former owner, Cleveland Indians
- 2006 – Herb Score, former pitcher & announcer, Cleveland Indians
- 2007 – Joe Tait, former broadcaster, Cleveland Cavaliers
- 2008 – Chuck Kyle, Head Football Coach, St. Ignatius High School
- 2009 – Bob Kain, former CEO, IMG
- 2010 – Dr. John A. Bergfeld. M.D., Senior Orthopedic Surgeon & team physician, Cleveland Clinic
- 2011 – Reggie Rucker, former wide receiver, Cleveland Browns
- 2012 – Austin Carr, former guard & current broadcaster, Cleveland Cavaliers
- 2013 – Bernie Kosar, former quarterback, Cleveland Browns
- 2014 – Tom Hamilton, sportscaster & announcer, Cleveland Indians
- 2015 – Jim Donovan, radio & TV personality, WKYC & Cleveland Browns
- 2016 – Mike Hargrove, former first baseman & manager, Cleveland Indians
- 2017 – Zydrunas Ilgauskas, former center, Cleveland Cavaliers
- 2018 – Sandy Alomar Jr., coach and former catcher, Cleveland Indians
- 2019 – Dolan Family, owners, Cleveland Indians