At 8, Sober Sabathia becomes an icon in fight against alcoholism

Ex-Yankees ace CC Sabathia is with young kids during a baseball camp at Luke Easter Park on August 16, 2023.

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Former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia displayed immense courage eight years ago when he chose to prioritize his health and well-being by seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. On the eve of the 2015 American League Wild Card Game, he made the difficult but necessary decision to voluntarily enter rehab to confront his drinking problem head-on. While the timing just before a high-profile playoff game amplified public attention, Sabathia remained steadfastly focused on his recovery.

Now, after achieving eight years of sobriety, the Cy Young Award winner has transformed himself into a beacon of hope for anyone engaged in their own battle against alcoholism. Sabathia’s willingness to be open about his personal struggles provides an inspiration to many who are fighting similar demons. His sobriety journey illustrates that with determination and support, lifelong recovery is attainable one day at a time.

8-year celebration by Sabathia

During their MLB careers, October symbolizes the pursuit of a World Series title for players like Yankees icon CC Sabathia, who once graced the diamond in search of that coveted championship ring. Nowadays, he finds a different cause for celebration during this month: commemorating yet another year of sobriety, free from the clutches of alcohol.

On Thursday, the former six-time All-Star turned to social media to convey his appreciation to all those who have stood by him throughout his eight-year sobriety journey. Through X, the platform once known as Twitter, Sabathia penned:

8 years sober to this day with no regrets. Grateful to be healthy, happy, and have a loving family. For anyone who’s on their own sobriety journey, know you’re not alone and life without alcohol is possible. Blessings

Sabathia’s path to sobriety commenced on October 5, 2015. He publicly disclosed this in a statement released on the eve of the Yankees’ Wild Card game against the Houston Astros.

“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease,” the statement said. “

“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.”

For Sabathia, who had already achieved the pinnacle of a World Series victory, earned an ALCS MVP title, and secured a Cy Young Award, the choice to admit himself into rehab proved to be the most pivotal and life-changing decision he could have ever undertaken.

Sabathia, a veteran pitcher with an illustrious 19-year career spanning from 2001 to 2019, spent his final 11 seasons as a member of the New York Yankees. It was on October 5, 2015, on the eve of his team’s participation in the AL Wild Card game, that he took the courageous step to enter an alcohol rehabilitation center.

Fortunately, Sabathia has successfully sustained his sobriety since completing his rehab program. One can only hope that he continues to enjoy many more years of healthy, alcohol-free living.

CC turns healthier too


Sabathia stood tall at 6-foot-7 and carried almost 300 pounds on his frame. His stature was undeniably imposing while on the pitching mound, yet it deviated from the conventional norm. Traditionally, pitchers are characterized by their lean and slender build, a physique Sabathia aspired to achieve, but encountered a significant obstacle.

During one season, he successfully trimmed his weight to around 250 pounds. However, upon arriving at training camp, he noticed a substantial decline in his pitch velocity. Sabathia recalled a specific year, around 2013, when he had managed to lower his weight to approximately 265 pounds and felt quite good. However, upon arriving at spring training, he noticed a decline in his pitching velocity, which had dropped to around 83 mph. He attributed this decline to a subsequent increase in his weight, mentioning that he had returned to around 290 pounds just before spring training.

Following the decline in performance that accompanied his weight loss, Sabathia reverted to his previous dietary regimen and regained his weight, settling around 300 pounds in 2017. This marked a return to form for the former Cy Young winner, as he delivered one of his finest seasons since 2012, ultimately earning himself a contract extension.

Sabathia, who spent the majority of his illustrious career as a New York Yankee, opted for retirement in 2019, concluding a pitching career that stands as one of the most remarkable in baseball history.


Boasting a record of over 3,000 career strikeouts, a lifetime ERA of 3.74, a Cy Young award, and a World Series championship ring, his induction into the MLB Hall of Fame is virtually assured.

Since retiring from professional baseball, Sabathia has embarked on a journey to shed some weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. However, he remains steadfast in his belief that his larger physique was a key ingredient for his success on the pitcher’s mound.

He humorously summed up his approach with the mantra, “More mass equals more velocity.”

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