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Till the End

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A raw, compelling memoir of baseball, family, fame, addiction, and recovery, by one of the most beloved baseball players of his generation. How does it feel to be born with enormous gifts, in a life shadowed by tragedy? What does it mean when the gift that opens the world for us is not enough to stop us from losing the things we love? And what new gifts do we find in that l A raw, compelling memoir of baseball, family, fame, addiction, and recovery, by one of the most beloved baseball players of his generation. How does it feel to be born with enormous gifts, in a life shadowed by tragedy? What does it mean when the gift that opens the world for us is not enough to stop us from losing the things we love? And what new gifts do we find in that loss? Baseball had been CC Sabathia’s life since he was a kid in gritty, baseball-obsessed Vallejo, California. He was a star by the time he was a preteen and a professional athlete when he was still a teenager. Everything he knew about how to be a person—an adult, a husband and father, a leader—he learned in rhythm with the baseball season, the every-fifth-day high-intensity spotlight of a starting pitcher, all while dealing with one of the sport’s most turbulent eras: racism in a sport with diminishing black presence; the era of performance-enhancing drugs; and the increasing tension between high-value contracts and sports owners who moved players around like game pieces. But his biggest struggle was with his own body and mind: Buoyed his whole life by talent and a fiery competitive spirit, CC found himself dealing with the steady and eventually alarming breakdown of his own body and his growing addiction in a world that encouraged and enabled it. Till the End is the thrilling memoir of one of the most beloved players in the game, a veteran star of the sport’s marquee team during its latest championship era. It’s also a book about baseball—about the ins and outs of its most important and technical position and its evolution in this volatile era. But woven within it is the moving, universal story of resilience and mortality and discovering what matters.


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A raw, compelling memoir of baseball, family, fame, addiction, and recovery, by one of the most beloved baseball players of his generation. How does it feel to be born with enormous gifts, in a life shadowed by tragedy? What does it mean when the gift that opens the world for us is not enough to stop us from losing the things we love? And what new gifts do we find in that l A raw, compelling memoir of baseball, family, fame, addiction, and recovery, by one of the most beloved baseball players of his generation. How does it feel to be born with enormous gifts, in a life shadowed by tragedy? What does it mean when the gift that opens the world for us is not enough to stop us from losing the things we love? And what new gifts do we find in that loss? Baseball had been CC Sabathia’s life since he was a kid in gritty, baseball-obsessed Vallejo, California. He was a star by the time he was a preteen and a professional athlete when he was still a teenager. Everything he knew about how to be a person—an adult, a husband and father, a leader—he learned in rhythm with the baseball season, the every-fifth-day high-intensity spotlight of a starting pitcher, all while dealing with one of the sport’s most turbulent eras: racism in a sport with diminishing black presence; the era of performance-enhancing drugs; and the increasing tension between high-value contracts and sports owners who moved players around like game pieces. But his biggest struggle was with his own body and mind: Buoyed his whole life by talent and a fiery competitive spirit, CC found himself dealing with the steady and eventually alarming breakdown of his own body and his growing addiction in a world that encouraged and enabled it. Till the End is the thrilling memoir of one of the most beloved players in the game, a veteran star of the sport’s marquee team during its latest championship era. It’s also a book about baseball—about the ins and outs of its most important and technical position and its evolution in this volatile era. But woven within it is the moving, universal story of resilience and mortality and discovering what matters.

30 review for Till the End

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ken Heard

    CC Sabathia (no initials in his first name!) makes no excuses for his alcohol issue in this honest look at the potential Hall-of-Famer's career. Unlike other autobiographies, Sabathia doesn't point the finger at anyone else and acknowledges that he didn't think he had a drinking problem because he could stop whenever he needed to. But the drinking got worse, endangering the relationship with his wife and family and with his performance on the field and he realized he needed help. I realize this w CC Sabathia (no initials in his first name!) makes no excuses for his alcohol issue in this honest look at the potential Hall-of-Famer's career. Unlike other autobiographies, Sabathia doesn't point the finger at anyone else and acknowledges that he didn't think he had a drinking problem because he could stop whenever he needed to. But the drinking got worse, endangering the relationship with his wife and family and with his performance on the field and he realized he needed help. I realize this was written with a co-writer, but his tales of his time at rehab were heartfelt and heartbreaking. Sabathia was probably the best pitcher in both leagues at one time. Rather than crow on that, though, he focuses on helping others and shows, without preaching, how alcohol can harm families and goals. Sabathia takes the reader on his voyage through seasons, writing about games fans will remember. I found it was easy to follow. Unlike Dave Parker's book "Cobra," which I had to go back constantly to see who he was talking about due to numerous nicknames and to see what year he was referring to, Till the End leads the reader easily. I wasn't aware of his problems off the field. This is an enlightening book on a player who, during the 2010s could be considered one of the best.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Sabathia does the near-impossible with this book: an autobiography where the main character comes across as not likable and not even an object of sympathy. Admittedly, I'm not a Yankees fan. But that bias aside, Sabathia doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to meet or hang out with. Sure, many star athletes have oversized egos, but reading between the lines of the stories he relates it sounds to me like he was pretty much a jerk even at a young age. Throw all that alcohol into the mix and he must Sabathia does the near-impossible with this book: an autobiography where the main character comes across as not likable and not even an object of sympathy. Admittedly, I'm not a Yankees fan. But that bias aside, Sabathia doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to meet or hang out with. Sure, many star athletes have oversized egos, but reading between the lines of the stories he relates it sounds to me like he was pretty much a jerk even at a young age. Throw all that alcohol into the mix and he must have been a mean drunk much of the time. The pre-publication hype about this book seemed to portray it as his escape from the grip of alcoholism. That really only took a chapter or two to cover. Most of the rest was "I got drunk here; I got drunk there...but I still could pitch when it was time to pitch." When I read a book about a sports star I want it to be inspiring. This book wasn't.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Surprisingly, my favorite part of this book was not about CC Sabathia’s outstanding baseball career, but it was about his childhood and his ability to succeed in a rough neighborhood. Sabathia also conquered his alcoholism of many years, including the later years of his pitching career. Sabathia’s memoir could have used some additional editing or insight from his co-writer. Like my reviews on Goodreads, the text became humdrum.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Harris

    Really enjoyed this audio book. What a great pitcher, player and advocate of the game!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jean Oren

    Honest & raw portrayal of what it’s like to be an alcoholic. Very emotional at times. A major plus if you’re a baseball fan ⚾️

  6. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    Whenever anyone has the courage to tell their story which includes addiction or any other of life’s greatest challenges, I applaud them. But, this book also speaks to the power of love and the love of baseball. If you’re a fan you will enjoy CC’s story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    He's a hometown kid who made it to the big show. Cool tale about growth and it's not over the guys now shredded! What my 👂 heard ⤵️ I made the mistake of being a little too honest that was b**** s*** it's like being handed a week consolation prize we all know the game is a business they count on me to see things right a sense of calm settled into my head feeling a strange mix of vulnerability and Hope he's an outgoing confident guy He's a hometown kid who made it to the big show. Cool tale about growth and it's not over the guys now shredded! What my 👂 heard ⤵️ I made the mistake of being a little too honest that was b**** s*** it's like being handed a week consolation prize we all know the game is a business they count on me to see things right a sense of calm settled into my head feeling a strange mix of vulnerability and Hope he's an outgoing confident guy

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    A baseball memoir that does not simply stick to baseball.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    I really enjoyed this. It is a candid telling of the life of a kid who made it from the streets to . . . in just a couple more years, the hall of fame. His greatest obstacle, unknown till the near the end of his career, was alcoholism. Here he tells all. It is an inspiration.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    I won this book through GoodReads First Read program. . I was really disappointed in this book. I am a big baseball fan. I love to read about players and their careers. The pennant race, the grind of the season, what happens in the clubhouse etc. C.C. Sabathia was a good baseball player who pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, and the New York Yankees successfully for many years. As a Major League Baseball player, and a very good one, C.C. made millions and millions of dollars wh I won this book through GoodReads First Read program. . I was really disappointed in this book. I am a big baseball fan. I love to read about players and their careers. The pennant race, the grind of the season, what happens in the clubhouse etc. C.C. Sabathia was a good baseball player who pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, and the New York Yankees successfully for many years. As a Major League Baseball player, and a very good one, C.C. made millions and millions of dollars which is great for him. I was looking forward to reading about his career and struggles. Sabathia did cover this stuff including his struggle with alcohol. I congratulate him on his successful battle against alcoholism. However, C.C. covered other things that I don't care about his opinion on. Just because you can throw a baseball 97 mph doesn't mean your opinions are correct. Sabathia covers racism, social justice, religion, and other topics which his views are no more important that your neighbor. Yet he seems to think they are. He laces his comments and opinion, and really his story throughout the book, with profanity. C.C. Sabathia is a racist. He makes statements throughout the book that if they were made by a white man substituting "black" for "white" would no doubt be viewed as racist. I doubt they would even be published. Yet he makes them. Here is an example: "I cried when Cleveland traded me-but I loved every minute pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers into the playoffs, and having so many Black teammates." Now if a white player said he enjoyed playing with a team because he had so many white teammates what would the reaction be? Talk baseball C.C. not social justice as you see it. He claims he avoided talking about politics and race while he played baseball. Seems racism sells so the racist remarks flow in this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I have been a huge Yankee fan in the past but since mlb went woke I’ve not watched a single game. But I was a fan during the CC years and he never really impressed me. He was a big man, obviously and all we could depend on him for was to be inconsistent. But I digress. I thought I would read his book since I found it in the new book section of the library and sometimes I do miss baseball. I thought it would be fun to hear some stories of Yankees etc. What CC has managed to do with this book is t I have been a huge Yankee fan in the past but since mlb went woke I’ve not watched a single game. But I was a fan during the CC years and he never really impressed me. He was a big man, obviously and all we could depend on him for was to be inconsistent. But I digress. I thought I would read his book since I found it in the new book section of the library and sometimes I do miss baseball. I thought it would be fun to hear some stories of Yankees etc. What CC has managed to do with this book is to look like a spoiled, rich snot. I don’t give a shit what color you are actually, but he sure does. The first chapters of this book are basically unreadable. The writing is almost incoherent and there are so many people he mentions, it really is hard to keep track of. I almost put it down but I kept going cuz I was really interested in the Yankee years. Some of the stories I would like to point out in this book are contradictory and polarizing at the same time. He tells a story about being pulled over while black by the police which I find suspect since my husband has been a cop for almost 21 years and has never been able to tell a persons color while pulling them over. CC then tells us the cop pulled his gun out when CC reached under the seat for a tool to assist in opening the window. The next example which CC actually writes later in that chapter tells you WHY the cop would pull a gun when you reach under the seat when he explains a situation where he and his cousin were in a car and his cousin pulled “the biggest fucking gun I’d ever seen” from under the seat and then apparently was going to rob a store. Wow. CC also says many many times how hard it is to be black in America. I will admit I do not know what it is like to be black, but he has some whopper examples of how difficult his life actually is when he points out that teachers gave him a lot of slack since he was a star athlete which led me to believe he might not have had to work as hard academically as the average student, what do u call that? Athlete privilege? I don’t know. Anyway, rough life. But also, how many kids are given a million to play ball right out of high school. Rough again. The baseball stories in this book are solid, but they are far out balanced by the woe is me, my life is so rough, I drink all the time, make millions, act shitty to my wife, wreck cars and face no repercussions, but don’t forget I made a text message group with the 72 black players so we could bitch about how rough we have it being oppressed by the white man by making millions upon millions and winning championships. What a waste.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Gase

    A very honest and sometimes depressing, sometimes inspiring book on longtime Indians and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Sabathia grew up in Vallejo, where I work, so it was interesting to read about how he grew up, even though I know the majority of the stories already. Sabathia, with the help of author Chris Smith, does a very good job of being honest, even when sometimes it must have been hard to put down some sentences. I kind of wish there was a little more about some of the teams he was on. F A very honest and sometimes depressing, sometimes inspiring book on longtime Indians and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Sabathia grew up in Vallejo, where I work, so it was interesting to read about how he grew up, even though I know the majority of the stories already. Sabathia, with the help of author Chris Smith, does a very good job of being honest, even when sometimes it must have been hard to put down some sentences. I kind of wish there was a little more about some of the teams he was on. For instance there is only about three pages on the 2009 World Series and I feel that and his Cy Young Award season in 2007 are his career highlights. But I feel this book is more about him battling his personal demons as it is getting a strikeout on the baseball field. This book had me not liking a person I have met many times and I knowhe has a big heart that wants to help the community he's from. Everytime I've met him he's been a great person, so I'm glad he's worked things out and overcome his addiction. A inspiring story that everyone from Vallejo should read and baseball fans will enjoy as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kennedy

    I listened to the audio version of this book. Pretty honest autobiography from one of the best pitchers in MLB this century. CC Sabathia freely talks about his battle with alcoholism and things that happen in his life. He talks about both the good and the bad, and he owns up to his mistakes. I found the baseball part of the book equally as interesting as his battle versus his personal demons. He played for both small market (Cleveland and Milwaukee) and large market (New York Yankees) teams. He I listened to the audio version of this book. Pretty honest autobiography from one of the best pitchers in MLB this century. CC Sabathia freely talks about his battle with alcoholism and things that happen in his life. He talks about both the good and the bad, and he owns up to his mistakes. I found the baseball part of the book equally as interesting as his battle versus his personal demons. He played for both small market (Cleveland and Milwaukee) and large market (New York Yankees) teams. He does a good job talking about how he grows as a pitcher over the years going from surviving on raw talent to becoming an aging star who used his experience to get by. Only negatives was at times he got a little preachy, but it was only a few times. Also he likes to swear a lot which doesn’t bother me, but keep in mind for younger readers/listeners. Overall a good baseball autobiography that seemed to be pretty honest about The life of CC Sabathia.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C.M. Godbout

    I'm a die-hard Yankees fan. In fact, the first year that I began following the team was in 2009, which was the same year that the team won their last World Series title. Incidentally, that was also the year that the franchise signed C.C. Sabathia to be their ace starting pitcher. While his book is certainly one that baseball fans will enjoy, you don't have to be a sports lover to appreciate C.C.'s story. There are many topics within these 300 pages that have nothing to do with baseball. One majo I'm a die-hard Yankees fan. In fact, the first year that I began following the team was in 2009, which was the same year that the team won their last World Series title. Incidentally, that was also the year that the franchise signed C.C. Sabathia to be their ace starting pitcher. While his book is certainly one that baseball fans will enjoy, you don't have to be a sports lover to appreciate C.C.'s story. There are many topics within these 300 pages that have nothing to do with baseball. One major example is alcohol abuse, something C.C. has dealt with since his early teenage years. At its core, this book is about a man who dealt with his personal demons well after getting himself out of the projects and becoming acquainted with superstardom. It's a story about the trials and tribulations of life, the consequences of actions, and most importantly, how it's never too take control of your life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    I was going to give this book a three but decided to bump it up. Sabathia is so personable and he's a great story-teller. I saw an episode of his podcast and he seemed funny and intelligent that I figured this memoir may be easy to read. While the narrative was slightly all over the place, he painted a clear picture of his upbringing and his addiction and how baseball and family saved him. Since his MLB career lasted almost 20 years, it was cool to hear stories about players from a different gen I was going to give this book a three but decided to bump it up. Sabathia is so personable and he's a great story-teller. I saw an episode of his podcast and he seemed funny and intelligent that I figured this memoir may be easy to read. While the narrative was slightly all over the place, he painted a clear picture of his upbringing and his addiction and how baseball and family saved him. Since his MLB career lasted almost 20 years, it was cool to hear stories about players from a different generation, stories about players who I watch currently, and how the game is evolving.

  16. 4 out of 5

    christine gautreaux

    A true tale of an athlete This story is so heartfelt and beautiful. Well written and an easy read. I am a Yankee fan but this book made me aware of the fact I am a huge baseball fan. I loved reading about the relationships CC had and has with genuine friends in and out of baseball. A truly beautiful memoir.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Timothy S. Henson

    As a baseball player, Sabathia was a generational left hand pitcher who should have a bronze plaque in Cooperstown one day, but off the field, he had many demons to overcome and struggles in his everyday life. Although he finished in the pinstripes of the Yankees, I remained a fan of Sabathia from his days in Cleveland. I recommend this book to all baseball fans.

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Florida

    Message from a great competitor The world benefits from hearing Sabathia’s message. Tremendous heart, tremendous loyalty. He does a service by explaining reliance on alcohol and what is needed to overcome it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jake Lloyd

    While the writing wasn't great, it wasn't that poor for an autobiography. I think what makes this stand out is how candid Sabathia is about his alcoholism and how he eventually confronted it, despite his continued success as an All-Star pitcher. While the writing wasn't great, it wasn't that poor for an autobiography. I think what makes this stand out is how candid Sabathia is about his alcoholism and how he eventually confronted it, despite his continued success as an All-Star pitcher.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I never knew C C had a drinking problem. Get tired of all the whoa is me crap of being raised in a poor area. He made millions and millions of dollars. Couple of times his wife should of thrown him to the curb. Glad he got help.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy Powell

    Really interesting read. I learned a lot about him that I didn't know. Really interesting read. I learned a lot about him that I didn't know.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jack Barrett

    the ups and downs of a future hall of famer.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim Blessing

    This was a very frank book about one of the best starting pitchers in the 2002-2018 era.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marilu

    As a fan of baseball, And the Cleveland Indian’s (we loved our cc) it’s nice to know there are good guys out there. I enjoyed his story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leo Mccarthy

    Not enuf baseball stories

  26. 5 out of 5

    Al Strasil

    This is a great story about the roller coaster of life. It includes baseball and a great person!! I enjoyed from start to finish. Nice read for Yankee fan!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    A solid look at the man and the demons overcome.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark Nowowiejski

    Good read - insightful looks into MLB, being a black player and FA process etc. Alcoholism stuff was relatable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amber Welty

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