CC Sabathia argues Yankees should retire Alex Rodriguez’s number

Former Yankees player CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez

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When the New York Yankees gave Alex Rodriguez’s number 13 jersey to Joey Gallo last season, it signaled that the team had no intentions of retiring that number for their former star anytime soon. However, one of A-Rod’s former teammates, CC Sabathia, believes the three-time MVP deserves to be honored with a spot in Monument Park.

What did CC Sabathia say about Alex Rodriguez?

“I think [the Yankees] should retire his number,” CC Sabathia told WFAN radio. “I think Seattle should retire his number too. I mean, he’s one of the greatest players to ever play baseball.”

Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees have a long and complicated history together. He won two of his three MVP awards in pinstripes and was a vital part of their last World Series championship team in 2009. But several high-profile scandals and the animosity that resulted from them have severely damaged his standing with the franchise.

In 2014, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire season due to his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal. Just last year, he filed a lawsuit against the Yankees team doctor alleging misdiagnosis of a hip injury. With tensions still raw, the Yankees made the symbolic gesture of giving his number away rather than retiring it.

Sabathia saw the cerebral side of Alex Rodriguez behind the scandals

Former Yankees player CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter
Sports Illustrated

However, Sabathia believes many misunderstand who Alex Rodriguez is as a teammate. Behind the scandals, he saw one of the most intelligent and dedicated players he’s shared a locker room with.

“Alex was probably one of the smartest baseball players I’ve ever played with,” Sabathia explained. “Numerous times, I’d get the ball from him after an out, I’d grab the ball with my bare hand between third base and the pitcher’s mound and he would be like, ‘Hey, this guy is swinging first pitch here,’ or ‘you might wanna throw a two-seamer here.'”

Sabathia recalls Rodriguez constantly analyzing opposing hitters and offering strategic advice to teammates during games. He was always trying to gain a competitive edge through his intellect and preparation.

The former star lefty attributes the negative public perception to misconceptions and over-vilification in the media. “I think people hear stories and try to villainize him, but Alex is a good dude. In a team setting, he does well,” Sabathia said.

While Rodriguez compiled statistics that should warrant a retired number in the Bronx, his messy divorce from the franchise and tense relationship with Yankees management mean that day may never come.

But CC Sabathia believes Rodriguez’s on-field production and baseball IQ put him in the echelon of all-time Yankee greats, even if the front office wants to ignore those accomplishments now conveniently. Whatever tensions exist today cannot erase Rodriguez’s seven seasons as a Yankee in which he averaged nearly 40 home runs and 120 RBI per season.

So, while Alex Rodriguez seems resigned to never getting honored by the Yankees in that fashion, at least one former pinstriped teammate believes he has earned that recognition for what he contributed between the lines as a Yankee legend.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “CC Sabathia argues Yankees should retire Alex Rodriguez’s number

  1. Not just no, but hell no! As it is, there are too many retired numbers now. I’d unretire right now: 1, 6, 9, 20, 37, 44, 46, 49, 51, & 21. Let’s admit it, the fans got 21 retired. And without it being an emotional immediate decision, I’m not sure My Captain, Thurman Munson, gets his #15 retired either. I would’ve loved to hand Pettitte Guidry ‘s 49, then have put it on Montgomery’s back. 44 went to Danny Pasqua, before it’s retirement. Would’ve been perfect for Bird or Judge. What about giving 51 to Dominguez or Jones?

  2. I Agree 100% with AlanFromQueens: Hell, No!!!

    I loved A-Rod as an all-around player, but he embarrassed Himself, the Yankees, and Baseball by cheating.

    I couldn’t believe some of the Ridiculous & Fatuous statements I heard on WFAN the other day when they “retired” A-Rod’s number 13.

    One statement claimed that A-Rod was solely responsible for their 2009 Championship. Really?! Rivera, the greatest reliever in MLB history & the first ever unanimously elected member of the HOF had NOTHING to do with it? And HOF shortstop, Derek Jeter, had NOTHING to do with it? And HOF manager, Joe Torre had NOTHING to do with it? And one of the 5 Best Catchers in Yankees history, Jorge Posada, had NOTHING to do with it?

    That was a Blatantly Stupid Statement!

    What was WORSE was when the same WFAN Idiot said “EVERYBODY” was using steroids back then. That man, I forget his name, should be FIRED for defaming all of the players who OBVIOUSLY did NOT use steroids.

    If you look at the physics of Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and the Majority of MLB players, they OBVIOUSLY did not use steroids to artificially enhance their playing ability.

    Lastly, when I was 39 I was fortunate enough to workout with a former Russian Olympic Weightlifter, who, oddly enough, fell in love with baseball when he emigrated to the U.S. Before ANY writer wrote about players possibly using steroids, he told me that “Bonds, McGuire, and Sammy Sosa are obviously using steroids.”

    Then he told me how he knew, from his knowledge of steroids from his time on the Russian Olympic team: “The knock is a dead giveaway,” he told me. “You have very few muscles in your neck, so, anytime you see a THICK, MUSCULAR NECK, that’s only possible with steroids.”

    Look at the necks of Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod & others over the course of their careers & you’ll see what he meant. Moreover, in Bonds case, it was reporter that his SHOE SIZE & HAT SIZE both increased as he approached his 40s: That’s Impossible without steroids!

    Now, look at the necks of Jeter, Rivera & Posada over their careers: there’s No Sign of additional MUSCULAR development in the neck. They may have put on weight as they aged, but NOT Muscular development!

    What that man on WFAN said was REPREHENSIBLE in terms of the legacy of All Honest Players, who did it the Right Way; and A-Rod, who was a great player before using steroids, sadly, wasn’t one of those men of integrity. But Jeter, Rivera, Posada & many others were. That’s why men like that earned our respect & admiration.

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