jimabbott050608_fullsize_story1Yesterday I talked about a pitcher that had extra body parts (an extra finger on each hand), so how about today we talk about a pitcher who was missing a hand.

Jim Abbott was born without a right hand. Despite this he played in the major leagues for ten years.

Mr. Abbott would rest his mitt on his right forearm when pitching. Once he released the ball he’d quickly slip the glove on in time to field balls hit near him. Once he would field the ball he would place the glove with ball between his right arm and torso, pull the ball out with his hand in time to throw out the runner. On more than one occasion players would try bunting the ball towards him to take advantage of his disability, but this strategy never paid off.

But how good of a pitcher was Mr. Abbott. Pretty damn good. The California Angels elected to have him skip the Minor Leagues to bring him straight to the Majors in 1989. In 1991 he won 18 games and finished 3rd place in the voting for the Cy Young Award (Pitcher of the year accolade). In 1993 he threw a no-hitter.

When it came to batting, Mr. Abbott usually didn’t usually have to worry about it since he played in the American League where pitchers don’t usually bat. However he did play his final year for The Milwaukee Brewers in the National League where he got 2 hits in 21 trys. Mariano Rivera claims to have seen Mr. Abbott hitting home runs in batting practice.

Nowadays Mr. Abbott is a motivational speaker. And why not? Mr. Abbott is proof that when facing obstacles we can either choose to throw in the towel or work a little harder and achieve our wildest dreams. Although in my case, my wildest dream is where I have this giant candy bar head and these birds are trying to eat it.

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