Michael Smerconish Book Club with Jim Abbott
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott, who will join Michael for a very special night atCitizensBankParkto discuss his memoir, “Imperfect: An Improbable Life.”
The backstory: In the summer of 1985, Don Welke, a baseball scout for the Toronto Blue Jays, drove toFlint,Michiganto check out a high school pitching prospect. After silently observing the player for a few hours, he summarized his thoughts in his notebook as follows:
“Abbott, Jim: Left-handed pitcher. 6-3, 180. Great arm. Good change-up. Makings of a breaking ball. Natural cutter. Big competitor. Good athlete. Plays football. Good hitter.”
Then he added a final line: “Has no right hand.”
Jim Abbott was born without a right hand. He taught himself to pitch while wearing a right-handed fielder’s glove over the end of his deformed arm. After releasing his pitches, he would deftly switch the glove to his left hand and be ready to field.
Abbott was eventually drafted by the Blue Jays in the 36th round of the 1985 draft. Before playing professional baseball, he would first be an all-American at theUniversityofMichigan, the firstU.S.pitcher to beat the Cuban national team, and an Olympic gold medalist. Then, in the course of a 10-year pro career, Abbott would fulfill every schoolboy’s dream by pitching a no-hitter at home while playing for the Yankees.
Book Club with Michael Smerconish and former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott will be in session on Monday, June 11, 7pm at Citizens Bank Park. Tickets are $20 – and will undoubtedly sell out quickly, so
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