Jim Abbott has led an eventfully life. He brought his college team to the championship in 1985, brought Team USA to gold in 1988, and threw a no hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1993. These achievements are not what make him so special; what makes Jim Abbott even more remarkable is that he only has one hand.
As a child Jim’s parents always told him that he could do anything he wanted to do. They knew that their son loved sports. They hoped that Jim would play soccer, which didn’t require the use of hands, but right from the very beginning, Jim loved baseball. So, Jim’s parents bought him a baseball glove. However, Jim was not just involved in baseball. He was the top scorer in his school’s intramural basketball league, and played two years of varsity football. Jim’s various athletic exploits resulted in press attention.
When Jim got to college, he picked up right where he had left off in high school. His two main goals were to get an education and to become the best possible pitcher he could be. At this point, his fastball was close to ninety miles per hour. Jim worked hard on a straight change-up and a better curveball.
In the fall of 1987, Jim Abbott was given the United States Baseball Federation’s coveted Golden Spikes Award. This award is given yearly to the best amateur baseball player in the country. That wasn’t his only award. He also received the Academy Award for Sports Award for Courage in 1987 and was chosen as the March of Dimes Amateur Athlete of the Year for 1988. He later won the Tanqueray Achievement Award for amateur athletes.
On baseball’s draft day, in 1988, Jim was the eighth pick in the first round. He was selected by the California Angels. He was the fifth pitcher to be chosen in the draft, and the second left-hander. The Angels were thrilled to get him.
In spite of Jim’s amazing achievements on the baseball field, he has maintained a genuine level of kindness. In recent years, far too many of America’s heroes have disappointed their fans. Being a hero is a responsibility that Jim handles this beautifully, offering help and encouragement to young and handicapped athletes throughout the country.