SECAUCUS, N.J. -- CC Sabathia was the 20th overall selection by Cleveland in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, and he always wanted to be part of it again in some way. On Monday night, the Yankees' ace brought along his 8-year-old son and became the first active Major League Baseball player to participate in the event since it became a live show in 2007.
Commissioner Bud Selig said Sabathia took the initiative himself to be part of the proceedings, and Selig eagerly granted his approval. It was an off-day for the Yankees before they open a homestand Tuesday against Tampa Bay, and Sabathia was between outings, scheduled to make his next start on Thursday against David Price.
"I was excited watching the Draft last year and told the [Yankees] organization I would like to be involved," Sabathia said.
Sabathia not only sat at the Yankees' table beside Tim McIntosh as the club's representatives on the Draft floor, but he and "Little C" were allowed by Selig to take over the podium to make the following announcement:
"With the 30th selection of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the New York Yankees select Ty Hensley, right-handed pitcher from Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Oklahoma."
It was the first time anyone other than Selig announced a first-round selection in the Draft's modern presentation.
"CC wanted to be here -- really wanted to be here," Selig said. "Pat [Courtney, MLB senior vice president of public relations] gave me the word and wanted to know if it would be all right with me and I said I was thrilled, great. ... CC has always been a great representative of our game and I personally thank him for being here.
"You love when you have people who show that kind of interest. So here you have one of the great stars in our game, who cares enough so that he is here to help me announce the Yankees' pick. There are other players all around who have asked about the Draft, have been involved in it, and it shows a real interest and a real caring."
Sabathia was surrounded by legends representing other clubs, and he enjoyed his time mingling with friends and those he had not met before. He recalled what it felt like to be selected out of high school in Vallejo, Calif.
"It was nerve-wracking," Sabathia said. "I was in California, so it was a little earlier that I got the news. I ended up in a great organization with the Indians."
John Hart was the Indians GM who drafted Sabathia, and he was part of the MLB Network studio crew providing analysis in the same room.
"We loved the arm, he was an experienced guy, talked to the family, we loved his makeup," Hart recalled. "But we were concerned, thought he would go faster before us. He's not only been great on the field, but this is what you're supposed to look like when you draft somebody."
Sabathia is 7-2 this year for the Yankees. As for his 2012 season, he said: "I feel pretty good. Been a little inconsistent, would like to go out and command the fastball a little better and pitch better."
As for his sidekick? "This is 'Little C.' He's a big baseball fan, so I brought him out."