The following are some excerpts and highlights from an article posted to the internet on March 31, 2015, entitled “6 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity”. This just hits the highlights!
If you’re a baseball fan-and even if you’re not-then you know that with spring comes Spring Training, wherein hope springs eternal. There have been quite a few pitchers who truly were and are inspirational people-you might say overcoming adversity is a prerequisite to succeeding in any sport.
When it comes to overcoming adversity, few compare to Jim Abbott. In making the big leagues, Abbott truly was one of a kind-he is the only player to have played Major League Baseball with only one hand.
As a boy, he would throw a rubber ball against a wall, slip his throwing hand into his glove-which rested on the stump that ends his right hand-and then fielded the ball using his now-gloved left hand. But those rubber ball exercises gave Abbott great reflexes, and he went on to not just make his high school and later college baseball teams, where he not only pitched, but he also batted for himself-and even hit home runs one-handed. Wow!
He attended and pitched for the University of Michigan, where he won the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1988. From there he made the US Men’s Baseball Team and won an unofficial Gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the following year he realized his dream and made it to the big leagues, signing with the then-California Angels.
But his crowning moment of glory was still to come. After pitching solidly for the Angels, Jim Abbott moved on to the biggest names in baseball-and sworn enemies of every Mets fan out there-the New York Yankees.
The original Yankee Stadium was called “the House that Ruth Built,” and it saw more than two dozen World Series winners, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, the 1950s Yankees of Mantle, Berra, Ford and Casey, the 1970s variety with Reggie Jackson-suffice it to say it saw some of the biggest names and moments in baseball history.
Even amongst such hallowed baseball history, Jim Abbott not only showed himself to be an All-Star when it came to overcoming adversity, he earned baseball immortality and joined those other Yankee greats in 1993 by pitching a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium. He also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he got his first MLB hit-an RBI.
No one overcame more physical adversity to make it to the major leagues than Jim Abbott. After that incredible no-hitter and a career that spanned more than a decade, he’s still working to inspire people, having appeared on Boy Meets World and making his living today as a motivational speaker. He certainly qualifies for that role!
Remember-with baseball, hope springs eternal. Here’s hoping that there are a number of players who make a great comeback this year…and that they and everyone else who plays the game may do so with the same degree of determination and character as Jim Abbott.