Relive the glory of Jim Abbott's first Major League hit
Relive the glory of Jim Abbott's first MLB hit
Jim Abbott's career is a testament to human strength, ingenuity and how incredibly good he was at pitching with his left hand.
Abbott, who was born without a right hand, won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best college baseball player in 1987, was drafted eighth overall by the Angels in 1988, finished third in the Cy Young voting in 1991, and even threw a no-hitter. This despite having to adjust his glove to his opposite hand upon finishing every pitch.
In Abbott's final season in 1999, he got to do something he had yet to pull off: Pick up his first Major League hit. After playing solely in the American League, Abbott joined the Brewers in his last season, which meant he could finally step into the box.
Starting his career with an 0-for-12 slump, Abbott came to the plate in the fourth inning against the Cubs on June 15 with two runners on.
Holding the bat in his left hand while balancing it with his right arm, Abbott took Jon Lieber's offering and lined it just beyond the reach of the shortstop and into left field for his first hit and RBI:
That's not a lucky swing, either. That's a level, line-drive stroke that Abbott powered into the outfield. Said Abbott after the game:
Fifteen days later, Abbott would do it again. Also against the Cubs. Also against Jon Lieber. This time, the bases were loaded when Abbott singled straight up the middle, driving in two.
Though the pitcher would only receive two more at-bats in his career before hanging 'em up, finishing his career with an .095 average in 21 at-bats, Abbott was an unstoppable hitting force against one pitcher. Facing Lieber, Abbott was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs.