James Anthony Abbott is a
former Major League Baseball pitcher who played despite having been born
without a right hand. He played for the California Angels, the New York
Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1989 to
Abbott was born in Flint, Michigan on September 19, 1967
without a right hand. This didn’t stop him though, as he was a stand-out
pitcher and quarterback in high school.
Jim Abbott | 1967 - Present
Before he even graduated, Abbott was picked up by the Ypsilanti, Michigan American Legion team and went on to win the championship. Instead of signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985 in the 36th round, Abbott decided to attend the University of Michigan where he led them to two Big Ten Championships. In 1987, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, becoming the first baseball player to do so. Although baseball was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics, Abbott pitched the final game, winning an unofficial gold medal. That same year he was voted the Big Ten Athlete of the Year. After his successes in 1988, he was selected 8th in the draft by the California Angels.
After joining the Angels, he joined the starting rotation as a rookie without playing any minor league games. The 1989 season, Abbott posted a 12-12 record, finishing fifth in the year’s American League Rookie of the Year Award voting. In 1991, Abbott finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting after winning 18 games. Abbott was awarded the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1992 for overcoming an obstacle and adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage. Then, on September 4, 1993 while pitching for the New York Yankees, Abbott pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians which was later voted the 11th greatest moment in Yankee history in 2012. The 4-0 win, which would help tie the Yankees for the American League East lead, vaulted the 25 year-old to stardom. In November of that year, he guest starred on an episode of Boy Meets World.