CC Sabathia officially announced the 2019 season will be his last during a press conference on Saturday, ending an illustrious 19-year career.
The 38-year-old left-hander signed a one-year, $8-million contract to remain with the New York Yankees earlier this offseason before teasing that 2019 would be his final campaign with his podcast partner Ryan Ruocco.
With his family and in front of the New York media, the veteran made it official, and said that 52 members of the PitCCh In Foundation - Sabathia's charity dedicated to helping inner-city youth - would attend games and take part in pregame festivities during his final tour.
When asked about why he was retiring, Sabathia stated his age and the condition of his knee as driving factors. The former American League Cy Young winner said he'd give all he had toward a final championship run with the Yankees.
Heading into his 11th season in the Bronx, Sabathia owns a 3.74 ERA and 3.82 FIP over 284 starts with the Yankees. In the 2009 postseason, Sabathia posted a sterling 1.98 ERA over five starts en route to a World Series championship.
For his career, Sabathia is remarkably close to numerous milestones. The six-time All-Star has 246 wins and 2,986 strikeouts over 3,470 innings pitched, making it realistic that Sabathia retires as a 250-game winner with 3,000 strikeouts over 3,500 innings.
"I want to congratulate CC on an incredible Major League career," LeBron James said in a statement via a press packet distributed by the Yankees. "Not only is he one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but he'll also go down as one of the great competitors to ever pick up a baseball. His genuine love of the game and his undeniable passion have brought so much joy to fans for 19 seasons. It's been an honor to watch him play and I'm excited to see what he'll take on next. Congrats my friend."
James, a native of Akron, Ohio, began his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2003, while Sabathia was pitching for the Indians. Both James and Sabathia were first-round picks in their respective sports. With Cleveland from 2001-08, Sabathia won a Cy Young award and made three All-Star Games.