Jim Abbott

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This article is about Jim Abbott the one-handed baseball player. For Jim Abbott the Canadian politician, see Jim Abbott (politician).

James Anthony Abbott (born September 19, 1967 in Flint, Michigan) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who, despite his impressive career, was best known by most fans for being able to play professional baseball despite being born without a right hand. Abbott played for the California Angels, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers during his eleven-year career.

Playing Career

File:JimAbbott 50.jpg
Jim Abbott pitching for the California Angels

In 1988, Abbott won a gold medal pitching for the United States in the 1988 Summer Olympics. The following year, he jumped directly from the University of Michigan into the Angels' starting rotation without playing a single minor league game, posting a 12-12 record with an ERA of 3.92 at the age of 21. His 12 wins in his first professional season were the most since Mark Fidrych won 19 for the Detroit Tigers in 1976, and he finished fifth in the year's rookie of the year voting.

Abbott's best season was in 1991, when with the California Angels he won 18 games while posting an ERA of 2.89, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting. He also pitched well in 1992 season, posting an even better 2.77 ERA, but his win-loss record fell to 7-15 for the sixth-place Angels. In 1992 Abbott was also honoured with the Tony Conigliaro Award.

On September 4, 1993 while pitching for the Yankees, Abbott threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Although Abbott pitched effectively for the Yankees and White Sox before returning to the Angels, he never recaptured his 1991 form. He struggled through the 1996 season, posting a disastrous 2-18 record with a 7.48 ERA and briefly retired.

He returned to the White Sox in 1998, starting five games and winning all five. Abbott continued his comeback the following year with the Brewers, but pitched ineffectively. However, his stint in Milwaukee was notable as it was the first time he had played for a National League team, thus forcing him to bat for the first time in his career.

Abbott retired with a career record of 87-108, with a 4.25 ERA. He currently works as a motivational speaker.

Playing with one hand

During play, Abbott wore a right-handed glove over the stump on his right arm, quickly swapping the glove to his left hand after finishing his pitching motion in order to field any ball that might come his way. He would then remove the glove and make the throw with his left hand.

Batting was not an issue for Abbott for the majority of his career, since the American League uses the designated hitter. He did bat for himself during spring training games and interleague games when in a National League ballpark. When Abbott joined the National League's Brewers in 1999 he went to bat 21 times, collecting two hits. When batting, Abbott would swing the bat one-handed but would usually bunt.

Career Statistics

YEAR TEAM        AGE   W   L   PCT    G  GS  CG  SV  GF    IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO    ERA RSAA
1989 Angels       21  12  12  .500   29  29   4   0   0  181.1  190   95   79   74  115   3.92   -3 
1990 Angels       22  10  14  .417   33  33   4   0   0  211.2  246  116  106   72  105   4.51  -12 
1991 Angels       23  18  11  .621   34  34   5   0   0  243    222   85   78   73  158   2.89   24 
1992 Angels       24   7  15  .318   29  29   7   0   0  211    208   73   65   68  130   2.77   32 
1993 Yankees      25  11  14  .440   32  32   4   0   0  214    221  115  104   73   95   4.37   -8 
1994 Yankees      26   9   8  .529   24  24   2   0   0  160.1  167   88   81   64   90   4.55   -3 
1995 Whitesox     27   6   4  .600   17  17   3   0   0  112.1  116   50   42   35   45   3.36   14 
     Angels       27   5   4  .556   13  13   1   0   0   84.2   93   43   39   29   41   4.15    5 
     TOTALS           11   8  .579   30  30   4   0   0  197    209   93   81   64   86   3.70   19 
1996 Angels       28   2  18  .100   27  23   1   0   2  142    171  128  118   78   58   7.48  -41 
1998 Whitesox     30   5   0 1.000    5   5   0   0   0   31.2   35   16   16   12   14   4.55    0 
1999 Brewers      31   2   8  .200   20  15   0   0   3   82    110   71   63   42   37   6.91  -22 
     TOTALS           87 108  .446  263 254  31   0   5 1674   1779  880  791  620  888   4.25  -14 
     LG AVERAGE       94  94  .500           23   1     1674   1703  880  803  659 1085   4.32    0 
YEAR TEAM          HR   H/9  BR/9  SO/9  BB/9 SO/BB SHO  WP IBB HBP   BFP BK  NW  NL
1989 Angels        13  9.43 13.30  5.71  3.67  1.55   2   8   3   4   788  2  12  12 
1990 Angels        16 10.46 13.73  4.46  3.06  1.46   1   4   6   5   925  3  11  13 
1991 Angels        14  8.22 11.11  5.85  2.70  2.16   1   1   6   5  1002  4  18  11 
1992 Angels        12  8.87 11.94  5.55  2.90  1.91   0   2   3   4   874  0  15   7 
1993 Yankees       22  9.29 12.49  4.00  3.07  1.30   1   9   4   3   906  0  12  13 
1994 Yankees       24  9.37 13.08  5.05  3.59  1.41   0   8   1   2   692  1   8   9 
1995 Whitesox      10  9.29 12.18  3.61  2.80  1.29   0   0   1   1   474  0   6   4 
     Angels         4  9.89 13.07  4.36  3.08  1.41   1   1   0   1   368  0   5   4 
     TOTALS        14  9.55 12.56  3.93  2.92  1.34   1   1   1   2   842  0  11   8 
1996 Angels        23 10.84 16.04  3.68  4.94  0.74   0  13   3   4   654  1   6  14 
1998 Whitesox       2  9.95 13.64  3.98  3.41  1.17   0   0   0   1   134  0   3   2 
1999 Brewers       14 12.07 16.90  4.06  4.61  0.88   0   7   3   2   394  0   3   7 
     TOTALS       154  9.56 13.07  4.77  3.33  1.43   6  53  30  32  7211 11  99  96 
     LG AVERAGE   175  9.16 12.96  5.83  3.54  1.65   5  63  51  49  7245  8