Popular agent to climb Kilimanjaro for charity

B.B. Abbott, longtime friend of his client Chipper Jones, has raised more than $100,000 for pediatric cancer research

February 5th, 2020

ATLANTA -- Hall of Famer Chipper Jones has long been proud of everything his childhood friend B.B. Abbott has accomplished while establishing himself as one of baseball’s top player agents.

But that pride level will rise next week, when Abbott (pictured above on left, with friend Neil White) begins his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands as the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Every step taken during this challenging hike will be motivated by thoughts of the many children and family members Abbott has met while working with The Rally Foundation and The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

"I’ve never had the urge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro,” Jones said. “You can call this a bucket list item. But his cause, doing this for the children, is really the great thing.”

Quite honestly, the genesis of this journey was somewhat of a bucket list experience. Abbott was on an African safari four years ago, when a friend pointed out toward Mount Kilimanjaro and said, "You should climb it."

Abbott’s initial response was, “You’re crazy.” But looking for something to further motivate him this year, he decided it was time to climb. He did some altitude training in Colorado, hiked up Peru’s Machu Picchu and even wore boots and an altitude mask while recently taking some long walks near his home in Tampa, Fla.

The personal thrill of completing this journey will be trumped by the genuine satisfaction he has received as friends, family members, clients and many others have pledged to make donations that will aid in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Jet Sports Management (Abbott’s agency) and The Chipper Jones Family Foundation have pledged $25,000 toward the contributions which can be made through The Rally Foundation or the NPCF.

An overwhelming amount of support led Abbott to increase his goal from $100,000 to $125,000 last week. That number could easily continue to rise as he draws more contributions with the support of his star-studded client list, which includes Jones, Brian McCann, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Wade Davis, Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor, Charlie Morton and others.

“When I first told Chipper, he said you’re going to raise a hundred grand,” Abbott said. “The support has been overwhelming. This is a cause that has become very special to me as I’ve had the chance to be around the kids and family members affected by pediatric cancer. You grow close to some and then they’re not there when you come back for the next event. That really tugs at your heart.”

Many contributions have already been made by folks from around the baseball world. But Abbott’s reach extends beyond his current profession, which he began after spending a couple of years gaining the realization he didn’t want to spend his life confined to a law office.

As Jones prepared to play a game at Yankee Stadium during the 1999 World Series, he learned two of his agents (Robert Fraley and Van Ardan) died on the flight that also claimed golfer Payne Stewart’s life. A couple weeks later, the Hall of Fame third baseman decided it would be best to allow Abbott to serve as his agent.

The two had been together dating back to their childhood days as neighbors in DeLand, Fla. Like their fathers, they were best friends who enjoyed every opportunity to hunt, fish and play baseball together.

“I can’t imagine this going any better,” Abbott said. “It’s been a dream come true. None of it would be possible without Chipper being my best friend and client. That’s why it’s more important to do something with the platform we share.”

Abbott will fly to Africa on Sunday and begin his eight-day climb two days later. His group will trek through plains and make their way through a rain forest before encountering the colder, rockier regions of the mountain. The final leg will begin at 11 p.m. local time. This will allow Abbott and the other hikers a chance to reach the summit around dawn.

“Another theory is you walk that final leg in the dark so that you can’t see how crazy you are to be walking above the clouds in temperatures below zero,” Abbott said. “But I’ve seen the kids and I’ve seen the families affected by this horrible disease. Just knowing what they’ve gone through with chemotherapy, spinal taps and other procedures will be plenty of motivation.”

Jones is excited, but also admittedly nervous as Abbott prepares for this potentially dangerous endeavor. But at the same time, he’s quite confident this will prove to be just another challenge his friend successfully handles on his way toward the top.

"I’m extremely proud of him,” Jones said. “He’s made himself one of the top agents in the game. I really thought we’d be playing Major League Baseball together. That didn’t happen. But what he has done and what he continues to do is something to truly be proud of.”