​​Appalachian League elects two to Hall of Fame

CC Sabathia, Jim Leyland headline 2022 class

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Appalachian League announced two new members have been elected to the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. The 2022 HOF Class included former Major League pitcher CC Sabathia and former Major League manager Jim Leyland.

"It is truly an honor to announce our 2022 class of the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” said Bristol State Liners President/GM and Appalachian League HOF Committee Chairman Mahlon Luttrell. “These two individuals are being recognized for the valuable contributions they have made to the continued development and success of the Appalachian League.”

CC Sabathia: Drafted by Cleveland in the first round (20th overall) of the 1998 MLB Draft, Sabathia made his professional debut that season in Burlington, N.C., at age 17. He went 1-0 in five starts, striking out 35 in 18 innings. Sabathia compiled a career record of 251-161 with 3,093 strikeouts in 19 MLB seasons for Cleveland, Milwaukee and New York (AL). He received six All-Star selections and was a three-time Warren Spahn Award winner (given annually to baseball’s best left-handed pitcher). Sabathia won the American League Cy Young Award with Cleveland in 2007 at age 26, going 19-7. He was the 2009 ALCS MVP and won a World Series title with the Yankees that season.

Sabathia established The PitCCh In Foundation in 2008. The foundation showcases three signature programs that provide young people with the tools to be successful in school and on the field: All-Star Baseball Clinic, Youth Backpack Program and Field Renovations. In addition, Sabathia has supported numerous philanthropic organizations and worthwhile causes, including the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Toys for Tots and the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.).

“I am excited to be inducted into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” said Sabathia. “My time in Burlington was the first stop in my professional baseball career, and it brings back great memories to receive this honor.”

Jim Leyland: Leyland began his managerial career in the Appalachian League with the Bristol Tigers in 1971 at age 26, guiding the team to a 31-35 record. He served as a coach for the Chicago White Sox from 1982-85. He garnered National League Manager of the Year honors with Pittsburgh in 1990 and ‘92, and was named AL Manager of the Year with Detroit in 2006. Leyland managed 3,499 MLB games for the Pirates, Marlins, Tigers and Rockies, recording 1,769 wins in 22 MLB seasons. He is the only manager to win a World Series (Marlins, 1997) and World Baseball Classic (2017, USA) title. In 2017, Leyland was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

“I am thrilled to be inducted into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” stated Leyland. “Managing there was the start of my 22-year managerial career. I’ll never forget it. Thank you.”

Click here for more information about the Appalachian League Hall of Fame and its members.

For more information about the Appalachian League, please visit appyleague.com or follow the league on Twitter and Instagram (@AppyLeague).