On April 8, 2001, a 20-year-old left-hander named CC Sabathia strode to the mound for the Cleveland Indians in the top of the first inning to begin his first career start. On Tuesday - 499 major-league appearances later - he did it again in the Bronx.
In between, Sabathia's been busy starting on cue every five days for the past 17 summers, and on Tuesday the New York Yankees southpaw reached a significant milestone by making his 500th career start.
Sabathia is the 48th pitcher in baseball history to reach the mark - but only the second to start 500 games without one regular-season relief appearance. According to ESPN Stats & Info. Hall of Famer Tom Glavine is the only other pitcher to make at least 500 starts without throwing out of the bullpen; Glavine's 682 career starts rank 12th all time.
Sabathia's only career relief appearance came in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS, when he pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed one run.
Reaching the 500-start mark is yet another testament to the durability of Sabathia over his storied career. He's failed to make at least 30 starts in a season just four times, and only once - during an injury-plagued 2014 campaign - did he make less than 28 starts. The 37-year-old is a three-time league leader in games started, and has pitched at least 200 innings in eight separate seasons.
The majority of his 500 starts have come in a Yankees uniform (246), with another 237 coming for the Indians, and 17 for Milwaukee in 2008.
Earlier this season Sabathia passed Frank Tanana for the fourth-most strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher in history.