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Imperfect: An Improbable Life by Jim Abbott

Imperfect: An Improbable Life (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Jim Abbott, Tim Brown

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7817154,388 (3.77)21
Title:Imperfect: An Improbable Life
Authors:Jim Abbott
Other authors:Tim Brown
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:What's Jean read?, Read but unowned (inactive)

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Imperfect: An Improbable Life by Jim Abbott (2012)



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illuminating, not-fluffy memoir of ex-Brewer Abbott's journey to the majors and his struggle to remain there
  bunnygirl | Mar 31, 2013 |
As a Michigan Woman, I remember Jim Abbott coming to pitch for the Wolverines. I've followed with pride and admiration his subsequent glories: Pan Am Games, Gold medal in the Olympics, major league career, third in Cy Young voting, and that outstanding no-hitter with the Yankees. Reading 'Imperfect', one gets all of the glories but also the pain, determination and sometime disappointments. All competitors, especially the successful ones, would say the road to accomplishment was not without its bumps. For Abbott, the path was steeper than for most because he accomplished this while onlympossessing one hand. The book is framed by an inning by inning examination of that epic no-hitter, taking breaks in between to reflect on his childhood, and college and pro careers.

Early in the book, he describes his daughter's innocent 'Daddy, do you like your little hand?' As we follow his story we learn of his complicated relationship with his right arm and with his self-perception. I found this an inspirational book. Most of us have been beset with feelings of being different, having to overcome some setback or heartache, or bouts of self-doubt. Jim Abbott replied to his daughter, "I do honey. I like my little hand. I haven't always liked it. And it hasn't always been easy. But it has taught me an important lesson: that life isn't always easy and it isn't always fair. But if we can make the most of what we've been given, and find our own way of doing things, you wouldn't believe what can be happen." ( )
  michigantrumpet | Feb 13, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This has been one of the best 20th century American biographies I have read. Jim Abbot's life is a simple, all-American life that has been anything but simple or typical. This book has a genuine honesty and refreshing lack of cliche. I generally do not care for biography, but I certainly make an exception here. ( )
  jlhilljr | Aug 10, 2012 |
I read this book, uncharacteristically for me, because of the picture on the cover. It shows a one-handed pitcher wearing a NY Yankees uniform standing on the pitcher's mound. Furthermore, the notes said that he pitched a no-hitter and the gold medal game at the Olympics. Being an avid Red Sox fan (in the past), how could I not have heard of this guy? My motivation turned out to be very telling. It seems Jim Abbott spent his early years trying to succeed in baseball while shying away from the inescapable label of being "the one-handed pitcher." He eventually comes to see the wisdom of his parents who taught him to treat his situation as an opportunity, not a curse, and each increase in his level of play as a gift. He ultimately grew into his role as an inspiration for people with similar disabilities. I found Jim's personal musings to be the best aspect of the book and made it much better than the average baseball memoir. The action jumps around in time, with the centerpiece being an account of his no-hitter. The scattered pitch-by-pitch narrative was not my favorite part of the book, but I have to admit that I had tears in my eyes at the end so, who can complain? ( )
  librarygeek33 | Aug 8, 2012 |
ARC provided by Goodreads

When I was growing up I wasn’t really into sports. I could barely play them and they just didn’t do much for me. But I did like reading baseball stories and I remember reading in “Sports Illustrated for Kids” about Jim Abbott...the one handed baseball pitcher who pitched for the US Olympic Team and threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees. And something about that story resonated with me, his perseverance, his desire to be known not as the one handed pitcher but just as a baseball player, and ever since then he’s been one of my favorite athletes. So I was really excited about having the chance to read his story. And what a powerful story it is.

The story alternates between Jim’s life growing up and one of the defining moments of his baseball career...the day that he threw a no-hitter in 1993 against the Cleveland Indians. Jim walks us through that day, from getting up and eating breakfast with his wife, to arriving at the ballpark, to the nerves throughout the day, to the very last out. He gives us a look into what it’s like to hear the boos and the roar of the crowd for this defining moment. And just how this story relates to his life.

Jim’s story begins with his daughter and her kindergarten class. He came for bring your parent to class day and she asked a question that he had never been asked before, yet one that permeated his life. “Do you like your little hand?” And from that point forward Jim shares with us his desire, his drive, and his perseverance to be known for more than just his hand, but for being a baseball pitcher and more importantly for being a good human being.

And that is actually my favorite aspect of this book. Jim being humble, thankful for what he had, for what others didn’t have, for what he could do to help others like him. It’s not necessarily what he wanted, but he did it anyway. Not by trying to make any grand gestures and appearances, but by simply being himself. Greeting the fans, talking to them, answering each and every letter that came his way just to let them know not to give up. His story reveals that he’s more than just a baseball pitcher, but a good person. And I’m sure some folks are reading this thinking “oh it’s an autobiography he could just be making it up,” but that’s not the way it reads at all. Jim isn’t bragging about anything and he doesn’t really try to make any of these aspects stand out, but they do anyway because that's the type person he is.

This book isn’t just for fans of baseball. It’s a book about a humble man who was also a baseball pitcher. It’s filled with humor, insight into the sports world, and humanity. I highly recommend this book and it’s one that folks should read at least once. And then see how they feel about reading it a few more times after that. ( )
  zzshupinga | Aug 1, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Jimprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, Timmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345523253, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: Essay by Jim Abbott

He wouldn't say it exactly, because precision with words wasn't his specialty, but my father was the first to ask me, "So, what are you going to do about it?"

The question itself --framed as a challenge--came years later from a sports psychologist, long after I'd become an adult and as I was nearing fatherhood. My father had warmed me to the answer.

I was born when my dad was 18, barely out of adolescence himself, not yet married to my mother, and coping with his own response to a savagely simple call to obligation. I was born without a right hand, which, in 1967, qualified me as "crippled," predecessor to "handicapped," then "disabled," then "challenged."

So, what was he going to do about it? What were we going to do about it?

Well, we fished. We rode a bike. We flew a kite. And, eventually, we played ball. In Flint, Michigan, that's what boys did, what fathers and sons did. They played ball.

When I went out into the world and felt like I'd been spit out the other side, my father would turn me around, open the front door and send me back out.

He'd lost his own father at a young age, and his childhood with him. He replaced both with a desire to see more, and experience more. When everyone went right, Dad, often enough, went left. It wasn't willfulness, but instinct. He raised me in the same manner, from a soul that told him I'd need to fall down in order to stand. If he caught me today, I'd need someone to catch me and help me up tomorrow, and that wouldn't work at all.

He let me fail, with the faith it would teach me to succeed. I learned that it was as hard on him as it was on me, but not until my own children had fallen and risen themselves. Now one of my daughters will come to me, her eyes moist and swollen, and I'll think of my dad and what he said. In a quiet moment, I'll look at my little girl and I'll ask her:

"Well, honey, what are we going to do about it?"

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:46 -0400)

A one-handed pitcher who became one of the select few to pitch a no-hitter in Major League Baseball explains how he rose above his disability to excel at the sport he loved in high school, college, and adulthood.

(summary from another edition)

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