Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Player Profile: Jim Abbott

I have 54 Jim Abbott cards. This one is from 1994 Upper Deck.

Playing Career: Jim Abbott pitched ten seasons for the Angels, Yankees, White Sox and Brewers, winning 87 games. Career highlights include pitching a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1993, finishing fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1989, and third in the Cy Young Award voting in 1991. Lowlights include leading the American League in hits allowed in 1990 and in losses in 1996.

My memories: Right befofe Labor Day weekend 1993 I had a bad allergic reaction to some medicine that sent me briefly to the hospital. By Saturday the 4th, I was feeling a little better and decided to take it easy and just sit on the couch and watch the Yankee game. As a result, I ended up watching every pitch of Abbott's no-hitter, the first no-hitter I ever saw. Other than this one highlight, I remember Abbott as being a bust for the Yankees. In 1991 and 1992 with the Angels, he had ERAs of 2.89 and 2.77. He then came to New York and put up ERAs of 4.37 and 4.55.

Interesting stories: Abbott was the first major league pitcher to be born with one hand. (There have been only two - the other is former Expo Chad Bentz, who no one remembers. It pays to be first.) Besides pitching, he was able to field as well as any two-handed pitcher (better than some) and was a capable hitter as well, getting two hits in the major leagues and slugging several home runs in high school.

Where he is now: He is now a motivational speaker - check out his website, Jim, which also includes a lengthy interview. He also does work for the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, where he helps raise awareness of the talents of people with disabilities. He is also the assistant coach of a third- and fourth-grade girls basketball team head coached by his wife - you can see pictures of them at a recent game here.

Google Autocomplete Results: He is the first result when you type in Jim A, ahead of Jim and Pam, the fictional couple on the TV show The Office. Other Jim Abbotts include a realtor in San Diego and a writer for the Orlando Sentinel.

Coming up next: Tomorrow's profile will be Kurt Abbott.

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