Yanks, stars toast CC's off-field impact at gala

September 17th, 2019

NEW YORK – It has been meaningful for to reach several milestones during this final big league season, surpassing 250 victories and 3,000 strikeouts, but he has always dreamed of a legacy that could not be measured in statistics.

Asked about the impact he hopes to leave on the sport after 19 seasons, Sabathia has consistently responded that he wants to be remembered as a good teammate. The robust turnout for Monday’s LegaCCy Gala, hosted by Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation, serves as evidence that the big lefty is certainly held in high regard.

“It's a lot of fun to have these people come out, have my teammates come out, some of my old teammates are here,” Sabathia said prior to the event, held at The Shed at Hudson Yards. “I always tell people, when I come to these events that [my wife] Amber throws, I don't know anything. I just show up, so I'm just like a guest. I'm just as surprised as anybody else.”

The red carpet for the black-tie gala served as a who’s who of the sports and entertainment world, including nearly all of Sabathia’s current Yankees teammates, plus recognizable stars like Tiki Barber, Carlos Beltran, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield and Amar’e Stoudemire.

“His foundation does a great job; Amber does a great job with him,” Beltran said. “If I wish something for CC this year, it would be hopefully for him winning the Roberto Clemente Award. That's something that would be an amazing achievement for him. Then, hopefully winning the World Series. If he can get those two, I think that's a beautiful way to leave baseball.”

The gala featured a musical performance by T-Pain, celebrity DJ Questlove and emcee Angie Martinez. It celebrated Sabathia’s lengthy career, countless hours giving back to the community and his impact on others as a father, friend, husband and teammate.

“For me, it’s his presence in the clubhouse,” said Yankees pitcher Zack Britton. “He’s a good teammate, good family man. All the stuff that he's done on the field, but off the field, too, is why you're seeing a big turnout with the team. He has the respect of everybody on the team and the organization as well.”

“I remember in 2011, my debut -- I didn't pitch that well and he was the first person to text me, just keep your head up,” added Yanks pitcher Dellin Betances. “He always gave good advice. He's like a big brother. His competitiveness, the way he takes the ball every five days. Early in his career and even now, he's an ultimate competitor. He's a winner.”

Funds and proceeds raised through the event were to directly benefit the PitCCh In Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to enrich the lives of inner-city youth by raising their self-esteem through educational and athletic activities in the New York Tri-State area and Northern California.

Sabathia recently returned from his third injured list stint of the season related to his troublesome right knee, and he had a delayed start to his season as he recovered from an offseason angioplasty. The hurler laughed when asked if it feels like he is coming to the end of the line.

“It does -- my knee hurts, my body is barking,” Sabathia said. “Yeah, I'm 39 years old. It definitely feels like it's September, but I am excited for this week, having a chance to hopefully win the division this week and roll into the playoffs. Once you get into October, none of how your body feels really matters. You just go out and try to do everything you can to win.”

Sabathia recounted a conversation that he had with pitching coach Mike Harkey shortly after his abbreviated three-inning start against the Athletics on Aug. 30, which necessitated the third IL stint. Harkey asked Sabathia if he still wants to continue pitching. The G-rated version of Sabathia’s response was that he doesn’t care if his knee blows out; he’ll do whatever is necessary to finish the year.

“Laying in that bed in December with the stent put in, I didn't know if I was going to be able to pitch,” Sabathia said. “So to get 3,000 strikeouts and 250 wins, all that stuff -- it's cool to be able to have pitched the season and now have a chance to hopefully pitch in the postseason to help the team win.”