At 18, Jim Abbott is already a baseball sensation, and if he is pitching soon in the major leagues, it will be literally a single-handed achievement. Abbott was born without a right hand, which did not discourage the Toronto Blue Jays from trying to enlist him for one of their farm clubs this year. Not bad for a kid who pitched his first Little League game only six years ago. What comes over home plate today is a fastball traveling 90 mph. Last spring he pitched four no-hitters at Central High School in Flint, Mich, and led his team with a .472 batting average. That prompted the Blue Jays offer, which Abbott rejected in favor of a baseball scholarship to the University of Michigan. "My ultimate goal is to play for the major leagues," says Abbott, who also quarterbacked his high school football team to the state playoffs. Abbott learned early to compensate for his handicap. His dad, Mike, a sales representative for Anheuser-Busch, taught him a technique for transferring his glove from right to left after throwing the ball. The move is so fast that opponents have given up trying to take advantage of him by bunting. Anyone who doubts that Abbott could succeed in the majors should recall Hugh Daily, a one-armed pitcher who played for a Chicago team in the old Union Association. In 1884 Daily struck out 19 batters in one game, a record equaled since only by Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan.
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