Inspiration - Card of the Moment IX

For all those pitchers out there who have trouble staying healthy, whether it is a damaged ligament or a strained tendon, a hangnail or a line drive to the head, too fat, too tired, too unstable, for all those who are ready to give up and throw in the towel, I give you one of the single greatest inspirations that has ever played the game.

If you ever feel like you don't have what it takes to succeed, or that life is out to get you, or you are cursed, think about Jim Abbott. He was born in 1967 without his right hand. As a parent, I can imagine what went through his parents' minds at that moment. He has a birth defect. He will be "different." What else is wrong with him?

Fortunately for him, he never had the right hand, so he didn't miss it at all. He did what every other kid did, two hands or not. He played sports. Not only did he play sports, but he excelled at sports. He was the starting quarterback for his high school football team. He was drafted by the Blue Jays, but chose instead to attend the U. of Michigan on a baseball scholarship. He won both the Golden Spikes Award and the Sullivan Award in 1987, becoming the only baseball player ever to achieve that distinction. He carried the flag for the U.S.A. in the 1987 Pan-American Games, and pitched brilliantly, lifting the Americans to the silver medal. Later that year, he also carried the flag for the U.S.A. in the Olympics, then lead the team to the gold medal. 

He was then drafted by the Angels in 1988, was in the majors in 1989, came in third in the voting for the Cy Young Award in 1991, and pitched a no-hitter against the (gulp!) Cleveland Indians in 1993. He last pitched in the majors in 1999.

Arguably, he had one of the greatest years ever for an amateur athlete in 1987, easily on par with some of the more illustrious athletes in history. If you ask him, he probably would shrug it off as easily as he shrugged off his missing hand. 

1 comment:

Flash said...

I loved Jim Abbott's time with the Yankees. He was such an amazing and crafty athlete. Throwing that no hitter was icing on the cake.