CC Sabathia is hands down a slam dunk Hall of Famer, so says a guy who tried to beat him for YEARS ... 'cause Jake Odorizzi tells TMZ Sports the Yankee belongs in Cooperstown.
"He's a surefire Hall of Famer," the Minnesota Twins pitcher says ... "I really enjoyed watching him pitch."
It's a pretty big compliment from Jake ... considering the guy threw against CC PLENTY from 2013 to 2017 when Odorizzi was a Tampa Bay Ray and Sabathia was in NY.
But, game recognizes game ... and Odorizzi says CC is one of the best to ever do it.
And, why? Jake tells us the way Sabathia changed his approach from a flame-throwing lefty to a crafty pitcher is really impressive.
"He's the third lefty that's ever got 3,000 strikeouts," Jake says ... "So, I think that's pretty special."
38-year-old Sabathia has a pretty strong resume -- 6-time All-Star, 2009 World Series champion and he won the Cy Young in 2007.
Plus, he won the MLB in wins in 2009 and 2010.
Sabathia has said he's retiring after the 2019 season -- so, see you in Cooperstown?