For two decades, former New York Yankees star C.C. Sabathia was one of the best and highest-paid pitchers in Major League Baseball, grossing more than $260 million throughout his career until he retired in 2019.
In his 20s at the time, Sabathia tells CNBC Make It there is some money advice he would give his younger self.
“Don’t buy stupid s—,” Sabathia jokes.
Really, “it would be to just try to save as much money as possible,” he says.
“When we got that big contract, my wife and I sat down and wanted to make sure that our kids would be good,” Sabathia says. “Having her help me make a plan made a big difference.”
“Somebody dropped off $1.3 million with me at my front door when I was 17 years old, and I had no financial advisor or anything like that. [And] we didn’t know what to do,” he says.
Things have changed drastically since Sabathia was a rookie — athletes now get into business deals early in their careers. But, says Sabathia, “I like the way my career played out.”
“I wouldn’t have had time to focus on anything other than pitching,” he says. “I never wanted to be famous. I never wanted to be anything. I just wanted to be really good at baseball.”
Earlier this month, Sabathia published his memoir, “Till the End,” where he chronicles his battle with alcoholism, something he fought even as he soared to the top of his game. According to Sabathia, he was a “disciplined drunk”: For 15 years, he was “so good at timing my benders that I’d won a Cy Young award and a championship ring and been paid $260 million,” he wrote.
Now, Sabathia wants to help others fight addiction.
“Being a Black man in the Black community, we don’t really talk about these things,” Sabathia says. “It’s important for me to be visible and let people know that if you are out there silently suffering from alcohol dependency, there is help out there for you and you can turn things around.”
“It isn’t taboo and we need to erase that stigma in our community.”