‘Baseball as It Was’ Episode #20: Jim Abbott

Some players deal with obstacles on their road to achieving Major League status. But Jim Abbott is in a class all his own.

As has been well documented over the years, Abbott was born without a right hand. Nonetheless, he pursued baseball – despite a steepened learning curve. To watch Abbott deftly transfer his glove quickly on-and-off his hand in the field is quite impressive.

He would be more than up to that challenge. Not only did he succeed immensely as a pitcher in high school and college, Abbott earned a complete game victory in the gold medal game of the 1988 Summer Olympics. The California Angels made him their first round pick out of the University of Michigan in 1988, and he was in the big leagues by 1989.

Those accomplishments, though, paled in comparison to his no-hitter in 1993 against the Cleveland Indians – as this unlikely story added one more incredible chapter. For his career, Abbott won 87 games, mostly with the Angels. His best season came in 1991, when he posted an 18-11 record with a 2.89 ERA. Abbott finished third in the American League Cy Young voting that season.

Today, Abbott is a motivational speaker – giving further inspiration to those with similar adversities. Through his life and work on-and-off the baseball diamond, Jim Abbott has provided inspiration to many people while showing that through hard work and determination anything can be accomplished, no matter how unlikely it seems.

For all episodes of ‘Baseball as It Was’, visit baseballasitwas.com

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Audio clips courtesy of NBC Sports and MSG Network

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