Welcome to the first-ever installment of “Chicken Soup for the Sole!” Every month, we’ll be shining the spotlight on some “differently-abled” people who were able to overcome incredible physical challenges on their way to achieving their goals and dreams! This month’s story is about Jim Abbott, one of the most remarkable players in the history of baseball. He didn’t just overcome injuries or a rough season to make it to the big leagues: he was born without a right hand!
Born in Flint, Michigan in 1967, Jim Abbott quickly developed an affinity for baseball. Of course, there weren’t many (if any) baseball players who’d ever played the game with one hand at any level, much less the pros. However, he decided to blaze his own trail anyway and went from High School star to the University of Michigan before being drafted by the Angels in 1988. Although he lost his major league debut, he went on to have a good rookie season, finishing with a 12-12 record. The best was yet to come though, and in 1993 he threw a no-hitter while a member of the Yankees, which was the crowning achievement of his remarkable career.
How Did He Do It?
For a pitcher with one hand, pitching a baseball isn’t the problem: being able to field with the other hand is. Jim Abbott’s solution to this problem was to hold the mitt on the end of his right forearm, and then after pitching the ball, slip his hand into the mitt quickly and field. This sounds somewhat complicated, but when watching him you’ll likely be amazed by how effortless he makes it look (thanks to years and years of dedicated practice). After Jim was able to adapt the game of baseball to his unique physicality, all he had to do was put in the grunt work on the practice field, just like any other athlete. Jim retired in 1999, but continues to inspire differently-abled people every single day.
My name is Jessica Cox, and like Jim Abbott I had to work hard to overcome a unique physical challenge. If you’re in need of an inspirational speaker whose story can inspire people of all types to adapt to life’s challenges, call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website so I can tell my story at your convention or gathering.