cover image Till the End

Till the End

CC Sabathia with Chris Smith. Random House, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-13375-0

Former All-Star Yankees pitcher Sabathia brings the heat in his unsparing debut about overcoming his yearslong battle with alcoholism. He begins in 2015, when—after realizing he was “forty-eight hours into an epic drinking marathon” and about to pitch—he decided to get sober. To explain how he got there, he goes back to his beginnings. Born in 1980 to an impoverished family in Vallejo, Ca., Sabathia’s athletic gifts were evident from an early age, but he also began drinking at 14 and lived with a father who hid a drug addiction. After his cousin was shot in 1994, Sabathia put his “rage to more tactical use” on his high school baseball team and quickly got noticed. “I walked to the bullpen to warm up... and thirty scouts followed me.” Despite his professional successes—from getting signed to the Cleveland Indians in 2001 as the youngest player “in the entire American League” to joining the New York Yankees in 2008 and winning the World Series—he got into drunken street brawls and even crashed a car into a tree. In 2015, he checked himself into rehab and went public with his addiction on Good Morning, America. “The love that came back was a revelation,” he recalls. “I was free.” Those in search of inspiration need look no further. (July)