Clayton Kershaw has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in an MLB career. He’s made an All-Star team — nine of them to be exact — and started his first one last season. He has not one, not two, but three Cy Young Awards. He has a Gold Glove Award, and a pitching Triple Crown. He’s thrown a no-hitter and has an MVP Award. And of course, most importantly, he has a World Series ring.
There’s truly nothing else Kershaw has to accomplish. He got his 200th career win earlier this season, and is coming up on 3,000 strikeouts. Whenever he calls it a career, he’s a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
However, Kershaw isn’t done yet. In his 16th season in the league, he’s continuing to pitch well, even earning himself the National League Pitcher of the Month Award in April.
Recently, Kershaw appeared on Mookie Betts’ new show on Bleacher Report, where his teammate asked him the question a lot of people have probably been wondering for years: What keeps Clayton Kershaw going?
His answer was as Kershaw as an answer could get:
“My personal legacy doesn’t matter to me. It never has,” Kershaw said. “I don’t really care what people think of me on the field. The two things I always wanted was, I really like to win. So I think that keeps me coming back. And then the respect of my peers in the clubhouse. I love going in the clubhouse and knowing we’re all in it together to do one thing and we’re all on the same page and there’s like a respect there with that. I’ve always appreciated that in the game. Nobody understands what we do every day. So, when you’re playing other teams or when you see guys that you play against and when we’re in the clubhouse together, that mutual respect of your peers, that means a lot to me. … So between that and trying to win a World Series, those are the two big things that I want to do. I just want to keep winning.”
Kershaw has already won one World Series in his career, but he’d obviously love to win another. The Dodgers have been close so many times, but it would be so nice for Kershaw to not only get his second ring, but have a dominant postseason on the way to doing it.
As for the other part of his quote, though, I think it’s safe to assume everybody in the Dodgers’ clubhouse — and baseball world for that matter — respects Kershaw. Not only is he one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, but he’s also one of the kindest, and has accomplished everything in his career the right way.
The Dodgers are so lucky to have Kershaw make a lasting impact on their organization, and will be happy to welcome him back every year for as long as he’s willing to play.
The day Kershaw retires will be an emotional day for everyone with and around the Dodgers. But the day his jersey gets retired and the day the statue goes up at Dodger Stadium will be two of the best days in Dodger history. But we don’t have to think about any of that yet, because for now, Kershaw is continuing to show why he’s one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.
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