Friday, July 18, 2008

Jim Abbott still inspiring

Sports Illustrated has a "Where are they now?" profile on former major league pitcher Jim Abbott. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Abbott dedicates part of his time to corresponding directly with kids who have physical disabilities and have sought out Abbott as a role model.

The letters come from Saratoga, Calif., from Fairfax, Va., from Monmouth Beach, N.J., written by determined mothers, desperate fathers and sometimes the children themselves...

...Of course, none of them (the kids) were alive 20 years ago, when Abbott went the distance for Team USA to win the gold medal game at the Seoul Olympics. None of them were alive 15 years ago, when he threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees. And none of them were watching nine years ago, when he tossed his last pitch, for the Milwaukee Brewers. Abbott wonders why, now that he's 40 and long retired from baseball, boys and girls keep writing him letters. Perhaps it's because they know he writes back.

Officially, Abbott is a motivational speaker, hired by corporations such as Prudential, Exxon and Wells Fargo to tell his story. Unofficially, he is the repository for everybody else's story. Abbott receives approximately 20 e-mails or letters a month, all of them heart-wrenching, many of them about children who are missing a hand, or part of a hand, or feeling in a hand. He responds to each one personally...


1 comment:

Karen DeWitz said...

I can see that this is an older post, but I just stumbled here helping my 10-year-old son with his Night of the Notables project about Jim Abbott. My son has Poland's Syndrome, and he is one of the many kids your post describes whom Mr. Abbott wrote to personally. The letter was so wonderful! Jim Abbott stands as such a positive role model for my son. It's good to see him recognized across the Internet (even some years past).