Though he'd long ago announced his retirement from the game, this wasn't supposed to be the end of the road for CC Sabathia.
In an ideal world, he'd go out in late October, his teammates doused with champagne, with one last ticker-tape parade arranged for C and his brothers.
Instead, Sabathia walked off the mound in the middle of Game 4 of the ALCS, his shoulder dislocated. We watched him pitch until he physically could no longer do so. But just because his season ended harshly two days before the Yankees' playoff elimination doesn't mean he's any less thankful to the game of baseball.
Sabathia posted an emotional note two mornings after the Astros advanced.
Some people, if given the chance to time travel, might select one of history's greatest moments as their destination, or perhaps a personal triumph. I might just choose to head to Vallejo in the '80s to watch Young CC chuck grapefruits.
Since the 2008 stretch run in Milwaukee, Sabathia's name has been synonymous with putting your entire 25-man roster on your back and leading the way. Though the Yankees couldn't finish off a second ring for the big man during his final season, he certainly packed plenty of leading into a 162-game season.
We'll miss the lefty as much as he misses the game, but we'll see him in six Julys in Cooperstown, New York.