2009 : Jim Abbott’s University of Michigan Baseball Number Retired

April 18, 2018 all-day

Jim Abbott Cannons.jpg

Photo of Jim Abbott in 1998

Jim Abbott’s University of Michigan #31 baseball jersey was retired at the Wolverines’ April 18, 2009 home game against Michigan State University.

James Anthony (Jim) Abbott (born September 19, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, who played despite having been born without a right hand. He played for the California Angels, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers, from 1989 to 1999. He graduated from Flint Central High School and grew up in the East Village area of Flint, Michigan. While with the University of Michigan, Abbott won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s best amateur athlete in 1987 and won a gold medal in the demonstration event at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He was drafted in the first round of the 1988 Major League Baseball Draft and reached the Majors the next year. He threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1993.

Abbott played for Michigan three years under coach Bud Middaugh, from 1985 to 1988, leading them to two Big Ten championships. In 1987, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, becoming the first baseball player to win the award. Abbott was the flag-bearer for the United States at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, helping lead the USA to a second place finish. Though baseball was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics, Abbott pitched the final game, winning an unofficial gold medal for the United States. Abbott was voted the Big Ten Athlete of the Year in 1988.

Sources : Jim Abbott wikipedia entry

Bill Castanier, “Home run; Jim Abbott writes about his baseball career and his parents’ love story”, Lansing City Pulse, May 2, 2012.

Jim Abbott and Tim Brown, Imperfect: An Improbable Life. New York : Ballantine Books, c2012. Available through MelCat or interlibrary loan.

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