Thursday, December 3, 2009


Name: James Anthony Abbott
Number(s): 25 and 52
Nickname: Jim, Jimmy
Position: Starting Pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

How He Was Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round of the 1988 draft, 8th overall selection.

Years Played As an Angel: 1989-1993; 1995-1996

Angels’ Stats: 54-74, 4.07 ERA, 1073.2 IPs, 607 Ks
Career Stats: 87-108, 4.25 ERA, 1674.0 IPs, 888Ks

Why You Should Know Him: As one of just 21 players to ever go straight from the draft to the major leagues without ever playing a minor league game (and at the time just the 15th player ever to do so), Jim Abbott was an inspiration both on and off the field. Born without a fully developed right hand, Jim Abbott managed to pitch and field his position cleanly all while using a right-handed glove and even managed to get two major league hits while playing in the National League.

Prior to coming to the Angels, Abbott had established himself as a dominant amateur pitcher. In 1987, Abbott led Team USA to a silver medal finish in the Pan-American Games by beating the Cuban National team in Cuba for the first time in 25 years. In 1988, Abbott led Team USA to its first gold medal finish in the Olympics by beating the Japanese team.

As a rookie, went straight to the majors without ever playing a Minor League game. At the time, the move was considered a bit of a publicity stunt, but Jim Abbott proved the pundits wrong by posting a 12-12 record with a 3.92 ERA. The following year, his numbers slipped a bit as he posted a 10-14 record with a 4.51 ERA. However, in 1991, Abbott rebounded and became part of a dominant rotation that included three left-handed pitchers (Abbott, Langston, and Finley), all of whom recorded 18 or more wins. Unfortunately, 1991 was the high-water mark for Abbott’s career with the Angels in terms of wins, and after struggling in 1992, winning just seven games against 15 losses, despite a solid 2.77 ERA, Abbott was traded to the Yankees for J.T. Snow, Jerry Nielson, and Russ Springer.

In 1995, after signing as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox, Abbott was traded back to the Angels where he posted a 5-4 record and a 4.15 ERA in 13 starts at the end of the year. In 1996, Abbott’s velocity fell, and he struggled to a 2-18 record. After that, Jim took a year off from baseball, but, then came back to pitch in 1998 and 1999 for the White Sox and Brewers.

Memorable Moments/Games: On September 4, 1993, as part of the Yankees, Abbott pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Anecdotes and Quotes: Not only could Jim Abbott pitch, field and bat one-handed, he could even golf one-handed. In a charity golf tournament, I was his caddy and was amazed how he consistently drove the ball about 250 yards with incredible accuracy, and only bogeyed a few holes for the round. I saw many other golfers in that tournament shake their heads in disbelief commenting that they wished that they play so well with two fully developed hands. Jim Abbott showed people that it was possible to overcome life’s obstacles and challenges and continues to do so today. He was and is a hero to many.

Where is He Now?: Jim Abbott lives with his wife and two children in Orange County where he works as a motivational speaker and a pitching instructor for the Angels during Spring Training. For more information about Jim Abbott’s motivational speaking, you can visit his website at http://www.jimabbott.info/.

Contributed by David Saltzer - AngelsWin.com Columnist
Love to hear what you think!

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1 comments:

Bryan Mckinley said...

Could you even think of another former major leaguer that would make a better motivational speaker?

If you were to tell an average 10 year old little leaguer about Jim Abbott and the obstacles he overcame to live out his dream, than most would think you were lying too him. His story is that good!

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