Jim Abbott

Former Major League Baseball Pitcher

Jim Abbott was born in Flint, Michigan without a right hand. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan; won Sullivan Award in 1987; threw 4-0 no-hitter for NY Yankees vs. Cleveland (Sept. 4, 1993). Abbott played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999. Today, in addition to being a Pitching Instructor for the Los Angeles Angels, Abbott is a motivational speaker. Unique as a sports speaker because his story, and the way he delivers it, appeals to many types of audiences, even those who are not sports fans. In his keynotes, Abbott uses motivational sports stories of how he overcame adversity, and anecdotes from his career as a professional baseball pitcher.

Abbott has battled the odds his entire life. Despite being born with only one hand he was the 15th player to ever make a professional debut in the Major Leagues. Many considered the move a publicity stunt by manager Doug Rader, but after struggling early, Abbott proved his doubters wrong by winning 12 games with a 3.92 ERA in his rookie season. In 1988, as a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team, Abbott pitched a complete game leading the United States to a gold medal victory over Japan, in Seoul, Korea

On the mound, Abbott wore a right-hander's fielder's glove at the end of his right arm. While completing his follow-through after delivering a pitch, he rapidly switched the glove to his left hand so he could handle any balls hit back to him. In that first 1989 season as a professional he won more games as a rookie than any other previous player without Major League experience. His autobiography Imperfect: An Improbable Life (April 2012) follows his remarkable journey.