I watched an interview today that resonated very deeply within me.
I greatly enjoy watching the eponymously titled “Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable!” on ESPN and today Dan’s guest interview was Jim Abbott.
If you don’t know who Jim Abbott is then I will provide a brief description. Jim Abbott attended and was a starting pitcher for the University of Michigan baseball team from 1985 to 1988. He won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s best amateur athlete in 1987 becoming the first baseball player to ever win the award. As a member of Team U.S.A. he won a gold medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Jim went on to be a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball for a decade playing for the California Angels, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1991, Abbott won 18 games with the Angels while posting an ERA of 2.89 and, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting. In 1993, as a New York Yankee Jim threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Abbott never won more than 18 games in a season again and in his final three years of pitching he was 9-26. Jim Abbott reluctantly retired in 1999 with a strong feeling of personal disappointment that he had failed to fulfill his career aspirations.
What makes Jim Abbott’s story so extra-special? Well, you see, Jim Abbott was born without a right hand.
So during his interview today with Dan Le Batard, Jim was promoting his new autobiography titled “IMPERFECT: An Improbable Life” and Dan asked him, “Jim, what revelation was there for you in writing this book?” To which Jim answered,
“My revelation in writing the book was that we find ourselves in failure.
I’ve always thought success had been so much a part of who I was, and to lose and fail like I did, it helped me to understand who I was. It helped me to understand that I don’t have to be what other people expect me to be. You can be who you are. ..and how you value yourself doesn’t depend on someone else’s viewpoint.”
Jim Abbott, in my opinion, is an amazing example of imperfect perfection. There aren’t enough heroes these days, but I personally just rediscovered one.