I have a blog called Misc. Baseball, and there are a couple items about Jim Abbott on it, including one on his debut in 1989. And I remember going to a USA Baseball workout for the '88 Olympics, sometime probably in the spring of '88, and Abbott signing a slip of paper for me. He was more than just a good one-handed pitcher: I thought I'd pass on this story from the USA Today of March 19, 1991, about his triple off Rick Reuschel of the Giants:
Ever since he began his career with the California Angels two years ago, Jim Abbott has been telling people he can hit. In Monday’s exhibition game with San Francisco, Abbott – a left-handed pitcher born without a right hand – proved his point.
In the second inning with one out, Abbott came up to bat against Giants starter Rick Reuschel, with Dave Gallagher on second base. The San Francisco outfield moved within softball-league distance as Reuschel delivered the ball. Abbott drove the ball to deep right-center field for a standup, RBI triple.
Although the Giants won the game 6-3, Abbott was the talk of the 5,848 in attendance, half of which gave him a standing ovation as he went back to the dugout. "I’d like to say I took a look at the outfield," Abbott said, "but I forgot I was even on deck. I just went and got the bat and swung."
Abbott said he got a fastball from Reuschel. "He was being kind. You don’t know if you’re ever going to get another one again. It was fun. I was a little winded; I’m not used to going out there the next inning after running out a triple."
Abbott said he might ask the Angels for a videotape copy of The Drive. "This is for the kids," he said of a video record. "Otherwise they might not believe it."