The Baseball Hall of Fame is where the history of baseball will live forever, honoring and recognizing the greatest players, managers, and others who excelled in the sport. The Hall Of Fame should be where players who dominated their given era are recognized for their achievements, play, and impact on the game. With those standards in mind, it should be a no brainer; here is CC Sabathia Hall of Fame case.
The Hall of Fame’s mission statement says the following, “The Hall of Fame’s mission is to preserve the sport’s history, honor excellence within the game and make a connection between the generations of people who enjoy baseball.” When you think of the generation we just went through and are currently in, CC Sabathia exemplifies that mission statement.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Bert Blyleven. These are the last five pitchers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Only three of those five, Johnson, Glavine, and Maddux, have the almighty 300 wins on their resume. So the notion that you need 300 wins to be considered a Hall of Fame pitcher is silly and outdated.
All-Time Wins List
When you look at the active wins list, it’s safe to say that the 300 win mark is now a part of history. There’s no realistic chance that we will ever see another 300 game winner ever again. Take a look for yourself.
Some Other Notables:
- Madison Bumgarner, 104 wins, 27 years old
- Chris Sale, 91 wins, 28 years old
- Stephen Strasburg, 84 wins, 28 years old
- Corey Kluber, 76 wins, 31 years old
All of the pitchers listed above are some of the best pitchers over this current decade, featuring Cy Young winners, All Stars, World Series champions, and bonafide aces. The two pitchers that are probably a notch above the rest are Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander, and even they aren’t going to sniff 300 wins.
Think about how dominant Kershaw has been. He has one MVP, three Cy Youngs, (will probably finish with five or more), has led the league in ERA five times, a two times wins leader (21 wins both times), and has been the strikeout leader three times. Despite his utter dominance, he is still not even halfway to 300 wins! If my generation can’t even see Kershaw get to 300 wins, no one is ever going to reach it again.
Back to CC. Let’s first let CC’s numbers speak for himself.
CC Sabathia’s New York Yankees Rankings
In addition to his numbers, CC’s achievements include being the ace on the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees, six All-Star nods, the 2007 Cy Young with the Cleveland Indians, being the MLB wins leader twice, and the 2009 ALCS MVP. He was also the spark plug and leader to an improbable 2008 Milwaukee Brewers playoff run.
As for as Yankees pitchers, where does CC rank in these categories? Fairly well.
Since day one, Sabathia has been a leader for the Yankees. He is currently their second longest-tenured Yankee behind Brett Gardner, making him one of the faces of the franchise. He is as reliable as ever, as he gets the ball in Game 5 of the ALDS against his former team, the AL defending champion Cleveland Indians.
CC Sabathia’s Peers
In terms of his peers, let’s take four of his peers: Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee. I can easily also put pitchers from the early part of his career like Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Johan Santana, but Johnson and Martinez were automatic Hall of Famers, and Santana’s injuries will leave him out of the Hall.
Each pitcher has their strengths and advantages over the other. They each, besides maybe Lee, have strong Hall of Fame cases, and even though an individual’s resume should be judged on just their career, I think it’s fair to compare how they did compared to their peers in their generation.
CC Sabathia’s All-Time Ranks And Career Resume
Here’s how Sabathia ranks all-time.
|Wins||Strikeouts||Innings||Games Started||Winning %|
|237 – 60th||2,846 – 18th||3,317 – 89th||509 – 44th||.619 – 76th|
Sabathia has shown no signs of retiring on and off the field, so let’s assume 2018 is his last season. It may very well not be, but for argument sake, let’s say it is. In 2017, he had 14 wins and 120 strikeouts. Let’s stay on the conservative side and say CC gets 10 more wins next year and around 100 strikeouts. This moves him up to 49th in career wins and 17th all-time in career strikeouts. Only two pitchers in the top 17 career strikeouts aren’t in the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling.
As CC Sabathia enters free agency as a 37 year-old, coming off a renaissance year with the Yankees with a 14-5 record, 27 starts, and 3.69 ERA, his immediate future shouldn’t impact his legacy. Sabathia’s story isn’t finished yet, but there’s way more than enough to determine where he should be five years after his career ends.
Does Sabathia have a plaque waiting for him in Monument Park? Absolutely. Will a Yankee ever wear #52 ever again? Debatable. But it shouldn’t be up for debate that CC Sabathia should have a plaque in Cooperstown for the rest of time.