The Other C.C.
April 13, 2009, 2:44 am
Filed under: Sports Media

CC Sabathia, Baseball, New York Yankees

We both live within two blocks of Fenway Park, and love the Red Sox, but we can’t help but admire the work of new Yankee C.C. Sabathia, who has shown a great commitment to inner-city and disabled youths.  This excerpt is taken from a recent SI cover story:

Sabathia bought a batting cage for Vallejo High one year, paid to resurface the North Vallejo Little League fields another.

Once he signed his Yankees contract in December, Sabathia stepped it up. In February he asked to meet with Vallejo High athletic director Tami Madson and football coach Mike Wilson and his wife, school board member Hazel Wilson, and told them he wanted to supply the football, basketball and baseball teams with new uniforms—a gift Madson estimates at $100,000, more if footwear is included. Then Sabathia turned to Hazel and asked her to set up two college scholarships, Charlie Hustle awards in memory of his cousin Nathan.

With Margie serving as his local point person, Sabathia also pledged more than 400 backpacks, each filled with supplies, to the kids at his elementary school, Loma Vista, and is putting the finishing touches on a plan to overhaul his old Little League complex for next spring, complete with new scoreboards, dugouts and concession stands. Long-term? “I want to do a baseball academy, a Boys & Girls Club–type thing in north Vallejo, indoor fields: Have a bus pick up kids from each elementary school, have them come do homework for 90 minutes, then the rest is baseball,” he says.

Last September, during a Brewers series with the Cubs, Sabathia flew Hobbs, his high school coach, into Chicago. He still considers Hobbs a second father, the man who, he says, “saved all of us” by teaching boys in the Crest not just to play baseball, which is the easy part, but also to love the work the game demands. Weekends, Hobbs would have CC and his buddies hustling from early morning until well past dark, and it didn’t end there. He’d turn his car lights on the batting cage, burning out one or two batteries a season so the boys could keep hitting.

Hobbs’s oldest son, Luke, grew up around CC and is severely autistic. In Chicago, Abe and CC talked baseball and reminisced about a trip they’d made to Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park when CC was 14. Sabathia casually asked him about a treatment machine called a “hug box” that has proved to be effective in calming autistic patients—and, at $5,000, costs more than Hobbs could afford.

“I got back from Chicago, and the machine was at my house,” Hobbs says. “CC didn’t mention it.”

No matter which AL East team you prefer, you have to admire C.C.’s commitment to less fortunate kids.  We hope you’ll help us in our drive to do the same.  Donate today and help some great kids.


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