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Abbott drives home message

Former pitcher speaks on the power to ‘ADAPT’

Posted: October 8, 2009 10:57 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Jim Abbott, a former pitcher for the Angels, stands on stage with the LETMESAIL drama group as they sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on Thursday night at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at COC.

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Jim Abbott, a former Major League pitcher, gave an inspiring speech at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Thursday night.

The event was put on as a benefit for LETMESAIL, a Santa Clarita-based charity “which provides social, recreational and educational opportunities for differently abled individuals with disabilities.”

Abbott, who was born without a right hand, discussed the ability to overcome obstacles.

He used the word “ADAPT” as an acronym for adjustability, determination, accountability, perseverance and trust.

He talked about trust and used the no-hitter he threw as a pitcher with the New York Yankees in 1993 as an example, detailing the final out of the milestone.

“Slider on the outside of the plate … Trust. Trust,” Abbott said, referring to what he was thinking on the final pitch.

“It was like the world stopped,” Abbott said. “A no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, it was so cool.”

The former Angels pitcher, who won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, told stories about his playing days that elicited laughter and applause from the crowd.

He talked about taking a line drive off the bat of slugger Frank Thomas that ricocheted off his upper thigh.

He pointed to the area and joked, “It could have been worse.”

Abbott said during the speech that his story of overcoming obstacles was not necessarily inspirational.

He gave credit to other people who helped him along the way, such as his second-grade teacher, who taught him how to tie his shoes. Abbott received multiple standing ovations during the event.

Said Tom Hartmann, president of LETMESAIL’s board of directors: “Could you think of a better representative than Jim? It ties so much into our organization’s message.”

 

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