2019 Keynote Speaker
Famed One-Handed Major League Baseball Pitcher
Born with only one hand, Jim Abbott adapted and overcame adversity to have a successful pitching career. As the first baseball player to win the Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete in 1987, Abbott went on to represent Team USA and became the first American pitcher in 25 years to beat a Cuban team on Cuban soil. The team won a silver medal at the Pan-American Games, and Abbott won the U.S. Baseball Federation’s Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur player in the country.
In the 1988 Olympics, Abbott was the winning pitcher in a 5-3 victory over Japan that brought the United States its first gold medal in baseball. His most famous high point came in 1993 when he threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Abbott played for 10 seasons on four different teams, ending his big-league playing career in 1999.
Abbott will share how he was able to overcome perceived limitations and reach his dreams. He encourages audiences to find something they love and to go after it with all their heart. His story has been featured in numerous magazines, and he has appeared on several television shows.