CC Sabathia made history against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he struck out five batters and earned his 3,000th strikeout to become only the 17th player to reach that milestone and only the third lefty to join the 3,000 Strikeout Club.

CC Sabathia Yankees 3,000
CC Sabathia is congratulated by his family after recording his 3,000 strikeout in a game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Image: Matt York/AP)

Sabathia, 38, entered the Tuesday night game in Arizona needing only three strikeouts to pass 3,000. He struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning to reach his goal. Sabathia whiffed ex-Yankees catcher John Murphy on a changeup.

“It’s one of those awesome numbers: 3,000 hits, 500 homers, 3,000 strikeouts,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Those are magical numbers in our sport, and people should take notice when people come up upon them.”

Only two other left-handed pitchers struck out more batters than Sabathia: Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton. Johnson is second on the all-time list behind Strikeout King Nolan Ryan. Carlton is currently fourth overall.

3,000 K Club

Out of the 16 players ahead of Sabathia on the list, only two are not in the Hall of Fame. Roger Clemens might not ever get his plaque into Cooperstown because of his connection to steroid usage in the 1990s. Curt Shilling bubbled the Hall of the last few years, but he’s expected to make it in the immediate future.

TOP 5 LEFTIES STRIKEOUTS
Randy Johnson 4,875
Steve Carlton 4,136
CC Sabathia 3,002
Mickey Lolich 2,832
Frank Tanana 2,773

TOP 10 STRIKEOUTS
Nolan Ryan 5,714
Randy Johnson 4,875
Roger Clemens 4,672
Steve Carlton 4,136
Bert Blyleven 3,701
Tom Seaver 3,640
Don Sutton 3,574
Gaylord Perry 3,534
Walter Johnson 3,509
Greg Maddux 3,371

Sabathia is playing in his 18th season as a pro ball player. This will be CC’s final season before he hangs up the spikes for good. Sabathia is one of two players (Brett Gardner is the other) remaining on the team who won a world championship back in 2009.

The Yankees hoped Sabathia would return this season to help them win a World Series. However, the Yankees have struggled with their own version of a horror show called “Bronx ER”, because at least 14 players found themselves on the IL this season.

CC Coinflip for Hall?

Will Sabathia make it to Cooperstown? That will be the source of a heated debate over the next five years and probably over the next decade.

In the 143-year history of major league baseball, only two other lefties struck out more batters. The 3,000 K barrier has been one of those benchmarks that stood the test of time as a way to measure the best flamethrowers in the game. Sabathia is one of 17 players to achieve that rare feat.

“In a game that dates back to the 1800s, to be only the 17th guy to get to 3,000 is amazing,” said Aaron Boone.

“He’s one of the biggest names in the game for the last two decades, and he’s the third African American pitcher with at least that many strikeouts,” said Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones.

The 300-win benchmark will probably keep Sabathia out of the Cooperstown. Sabathia is 247-154 with a career 3.69 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. he should pass 250 wins this season, but he’s way short of the 300 mark.

Mike Mussina made it into Cooperstown this year with fewer than 300 wins, but he won 270 games in only 18 seasons of action with the Baltimore Orioles and NY Yankees.

CC said he could try to lace it up a few more years to chase 300 wins, but wanted to leave the baseball for good when he was still at the top of his game.

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