AGS Conclave: Baseball Legend Talks About Overcoming Adversity

Success is about “our ability to adapt,” Jim Abbott, the one-handed
baseball player who pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1993, told a
luncheon at the American Gem Society Conclave in San Francisco April 29.

“We know we will be challenged,” he said. “I believe that we
write the story of our lives, and that adversity and challenge doesn’t have to
hold us back.”

He noted that his challenges came early, as he was born without
a right hand.

“I never wanted to make a big deal about it, because I always knew there are a
lot of people worse off than me,” he said. “But I knew what it was like to be
different, to be on the outside. I was tested and teased. But my dad used to
say the greatest handicaps are the ones that we buy into.”

When he finally went into sports, he at first was “the human
interest story of the week.”

“[The press] was all about my right hand, not my left,” he
said. “They had all these things to say about my playing, how it was
inspirational. But I was just doing what I loved to do.”

He said that the ups and down of his career have taught him
the value of perseverance.

“Don’t give up,” he said. “Some of our greatest
accomplishments are measured in incremental progress.”

He closed with an emotional story, recalling when his
daughter asked him “if he liked his little hand.”

“I said, ‘For a while I didn’t like it,” he recalls. “It
hasn’t always been easy. But it’s taught me that life isn’t always easy, and it
isn’t always fair. And it’s also taught me you can accomplish amazing things in
this life. If you believe in what you are, nothing can stop you.”

For more coverage on the AGS Conclave, click here.

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