About Jim Abbott
Jim Abbott was born September 19, 1967, in Flint, Michigan without a right hand. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan; won the Sullivan Award in 1987; was the pitcher for the Gold Medal Olympic Team in 1988; and threw a 4-0 no-hitter for the New York Yankees versus Cleveland (September 4, 1993). Jim played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999.
Abbott has worked with The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities.
Today, in addition to often being a Guest Pitching Instructor during Spring Training for the Los Angeles Angels, Jim Abbott is a motivational speaker.
Adapt: Overcoming Adversity
People will tell you that I overcame obstacles — maybe. But the truth is I was incredibly blessed in my life. More was given than was ever taken away.
Some of you may know that my career statistics weren’t that great. There were some incredible highlights and some agonizing low lights. The truth is, I won’t go to the Hall of Fame. But if a career can be measured by special moments, lessons learned and a connection with people, then I would stack mine up with anyone’s. Maybe there is an obligation to share. To try and learn from the experiences life puts us through.
When you play major league baseball it is easy to become self-absorbed. Your world can become very narrow. One of the aspects of speaking is that I enjoy getting out in the real world and seeing how hard people work. I have been amazed at how much their pursuit of excellence is similar to that same pursuit on a baseball diamond.
The challenge for me as a professional speaker has been to try and formulate a common language. The word that I have come up with is ADAPT. To continue to move towards our goals we must be willing to adapt. To change, and mold ourselves in order to meet the obstacles in our own way. Using APAPT as an acronym you can put together a powerful set of words that stand alone in their significance, but they also string together like a chain in an amazing way.
A – Adjustability
D – Determination
A – Accountability
P – Perseverance
T – Trust
“There are no words to describe the impact Jim had on my business, he was nothing short of phenomenal. Jim spoke for breakfast, lunch and dinner seminars. His story touched everyone in the room with standing room only in some instances. Many of the advisors expressed to me that Jim was the best speaker they have ever seen, some admitted to shedding a tear or two. People laughed as they enjoyed every story Jim told and you could tell most people didn’t want it to end. Jim was gracious enough to sign and personalize baseballs and have conversations with the attendees until everyone was satisfied. I am still getting phone calls telling me how inspiring Jim was. I have seen Jim speak now 4 times and the story only gets better. I hope to have Jim back again in the future as well as my company is looking to use Jim at future venues. Also, several advisors approached me to ask if they could get Jim to speak at their engagements. As for me and my colleagues, Jim made it nothing short of a special day that none of us will ever forget.”
– Anthony Antorino, Regional Vice President, Prudential
“Jim Abbott is awesome. You could hear a pin drop during his speech. Frankly, I am not a baseball fan, don’t really know that much about it, but it really didn’t make any difference. His speech – to me – had little to do with baseball although the stories he wrapped around his words did. We laughed, and many of us (me especially) cried as he wove his touching story of his life and experiences overcoming his handicap. He is charming, very receptive to our guests, and he was willing to take the time to go to our luncheon, pose for pictures, and answer questions from anyone who asked. I now know more about human behavior since I’ve met and heard Jim Abbott. It was a great experience.”
– Miriam Eaton, Event Planner, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.
“It is a pleasure to work with such a famous athlete who delivers such a relevant and motivational message. Jim Abbott represents the kind of role model we would like to see in all of our professional athletes.”
– George Klaus, Chairman, President and CEO of Epicor Software, Epicor
“Jim was fantastic! The audience loved him.”
– Rocco Donnino, VP of Sales, Sybari Software Direct
“Jim Abbott was a great speaker with a fantastic, fascinating and inspirational story to tell. He was funny, engaging and an inspiration, and he kept the group’s attention through the entire presentation and question-and-answer session. Many in our group enjoyed Jim as much as our presentation by John Wooden. Thank you for making our convention one that we will remember for a long time.”
– Randy Fritchie, President, Fosters Freeze