CLEVELAND — CC Sabathia was born and raised in California. But the 2007 American League Cy Young Award winner says he felt like it was Cleveland where he matured.
So when Sabathia's former team, the Indians, announced that they were dedicating a youth baseball field in his honor, the six-time All-Star didn't take it lightly.
"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 at Luke Easter Park on Friday. "It's kind of I ever wanted."
In addition to Friday's field dedication, the Indians also announced a partnership with Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation and Get In The Game, which will aim to address racial justice and equity in the community, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Sabathia initially launched his PitCCH In Foundation in 2008 -- his final season with the Indians.
"We did our first event here with PitCCh In and we're just super connected to this community," Sabathia said while standing alongside his wife Amber.
Selected by the Indians out of Vallejo High School in the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft, Sabathia made his Major League debut with Cleveland in 2001, amassing a 17-5 record in his rookie season to go along with a 4.39 ERA and 171 strikeouts. Over the course of eight seasons with the Indians, the hard-throwing left-hander totaled a 106-71 record, 3.83 ERA and 1,265 strikeouts 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, with 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.