Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Jim Abbott Biography - The Abbott Switch, Into The Majors, Chronology, Down, But Not Out, Career Statistics

Jim Abbott - The Abbott Switch

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To perfect his signature move, Abbott spent countless hours pitching against a brick wall and seamlessly transferring his glove to catch the ball. The boy was equally attentive to his studies, though, showing the motivation that would carry him into adulthood. He chose as his role model pitcher Nolan Ryan, a strikeout leader during the 1970s.

Even when he entered Little League, Abbott never felt different regarding his physical condition. At age eleven, he threw a no-hitter that ended after five innings citing the mercy rule (when one team is many runs ahead of the other). The press quickly took notice of this unusual talent, sparking public interest in Abbott that continued for the next two decades. Opposing coaches who tried to take advantage of Abbott's perceived handicap

Jim Abbott

soon learned that the young man would not be intimidated: as a high-school freshman, Abbott once faced a string of batters who had been ordered to bunt. The first got on using that strategy; Abbott then threw the following seven out.

By the time he enrolled at the University of Michigan, Abbott was respected for his talent as much as his inspirational value. He pitched for the Wolverines with a six-win, two-loss freshman record that helped win the school the Big Ten title for 1986. In his sophomore year, Abbott rose to an 11-3 record, but got an even bigger thrill when he carried the flag for Team USA at the Pan American Games, held in Havana. He threw his way to a win for the U.S. over Cuba—the first such victory in twenty-five years. A year later, Abbott appeared on the international stage again, this time with the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1988 summer games in Seoul, South Korea. In Seoul, Abbott made possible a defeat against defending champion Japan and helped clinch the gold medal for Team USA in what was then an Olympic demonstration sport.

Jim Abbott - Into The Majors [next]

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