3. CC Sabathia
Year as a Brewer: 2007
I really wanted to put CC Sabathia higher for all he did for the state and the franchise in 2008, but could not justify it for 17 starts. I contend that those high-leverage outings had more impact than any stretch in Brewers history.
The trade that Doug Melvin pulled off propelled the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time since that ’82 season. The fans really needed it and it looked like the chances were fading away until the big lefty took the mound at Miller Park.
He was traded so early, that he was able to start five games before the trade deadline. He was a workhorse, that pitched on three days rest for his final few starts, including one that will live forever in Brewers fans minds. It has been nearly a decade, but that day is still as clear as day. I was there as a working media member and still get goosebumps thinking about the Ryan Braun home run and the complete game by Sabathia in the win over the Cubs. Miller Park was a mess of emotion.
The team then had to wait for the Marlins to beat the Mets to officially make the playoffs, and the stadium lost it one more time. Nobody left Miller Park. And nobody was smiling more than the big lefty who put the Brewers on his back to break the long playoff drought. It was only 17 starts, but the weight of each one just cannot be measured.
The stats in those starts were phenomenal. CC went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, with a 128 strikeouts and a WHIP barely over 1.000. He also pitched seven complete games (three shutouts), while also nearly pitching a no-hitter against the Pirates–which is still disputed by most associated with the team. Sabathia will be remembered in Milwaukee.