CC Sabathia honors his hometown and his favorite rappers for Players Weekend

Big League Stew

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia was one of the first people to hear about the notion of a Players Weekend in Major League Baseball and he immediately loved it. When the MLB players union thought up the idea, around last year at this time, Sabathia was one of the first players they told about it.

“I immediately jumped on board,” said Sabathia, who is now one of the Players Weekend ambassadors for MLB. “Whatever I could do.”

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With Players Weekend now upon us and players readying their customized uniforms for their games Friday through Sunday, we’re about to see a completely new side of MLB. Players will have nicknames on the back of their jerseys, which have youthful special designs for the weekend. Players can wear colorful custom cleats and other customized accessories.

Each player also has an “evolution” patch on his jersey, upon which he can honor someone or something that helped him get to the big leagues. This will easily be the most personality MLB as a whole has ever shown.

CC Sabathia’s jersey and patch for Players Weekend (left) and his custom Jordan IV cleats. (@CC_Sabathia)
CC Sabathia’s jersey and patch for Players Weekend (left) and his custom Jordan IV cleats. (@CC_Sabathia)

“It’s cool that you get to see guys’ personal side,” Sabathia said. “The uniform restrictions are such that you don’t get to see what guys really want to do or really want to wear. For us, the Yankees, you don’t even get to see the names on the back of the jerseys.”

They will this weekend. On the Yankees alone, Aaron Judge will wear “All Rise” above his No. 99. Gary Sanchez is Kraken. Aaron Hicks is A-A-Ron (a nice “Key & Peele” reference.) Sonny Gray is “Pickles.” And CC, a guy whose nickname we already know, well he’s going with “Dub.” His real name is Carsten Charles.

Sabathia explained “Dub” and the inspiration behind his other Players Weekend choices to Yahoo Sports:

His jersey nickname: “Dub”
“That’s my nickname from when I was kid. Playing baseball, guys used to call me Double C. One of my good friends shortned me up and called me Dub. That’s my real nickname. That’s what anybody who knows me calls me. If I put anything else on there, people would be like ‘What?’ ”

His patch: “Vallejo” (his hometown)
“The patch, you were supposed to put somebody or something that helped you get where you’re at. My hometown is near and dear to my heart. Me growing up as a kid, I never dreamed of being a pro athlete. I just wanted to be better than the other kids in Vallejo, because we had some really good athletes. If I had the chance, there would be so many people I’d have to thank, from teachers to babysitters, everybody. My Boys and Girls Club. ‘Vallejo’ as a whole conveys that.”

His cleats: Jordan IVs, one pair with rappers Mac Dre and E-40 and one pair with Golden State Warriors colors
“I just thought it was something that I had to do. Both of these guys being from Vallejo, they had a big influence on my life. To be from my hometown, I had to honor them. I decided on the cleats right away. I knew what I was gonna do from the start. I have another pair that are all Golden State Warriors colors. I knew I had to have the Mac Dre and E-40 shoes and have the Warriors shoes. They were made by Mache — @Mache275 on Instagram — he does a lot of shoes for me.

“It’s gonna be dope. For me, I grew up on both of their music. I’m really close with E-40 and to be able to take that out there with me … you have to be from the Bay or Vallejo to really understand what it is, to understand how close knit it is. Dudes from the Bay, we are different. It’s a different language we speak. To be able to honor that in that New York and Yankees Stadium is gonna be fun.”

On seeing his teammates get into customization and showing their personalities:
“Guys worked hard to make sure they’re wearing the right nickname and have their shoes right. Guys have been taking it serious, having fun with it. Adam Warren wears the most basic cleats that I’ve ever seen in the big leagues and even he has cleats painted.”

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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