Former Major League Baseball starting pitcher and 1988 U.S. Olympian, born September 19, 1967. First-round draft pick of the then-California Angels (now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) in 1988 as a junior at University of Michigan. Born without a right hand, he would balance a left-handed glove on the stub of his right wrist while throwing each pitch, and then quickly switch it onto his pitching hand to field.

After pitching the gold medal-winning game for the US in Seoul, he jumped straight from college to the majors in 1989 with the Angels, and finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Probably his finest seasons were 1991, when he finished 18-11 with a 2.89 ERA, and 1992, when he finished 7-15 with a 2.77 ERA (California's run support was nonexistent, hence the lopsided win/loss record). The next year, he was traded to the New York Yankees, and although he pitched a no-hitter on 4 September 1993 against the Cleveland Indians, his career's downslide began that year. As a power pitcher, his success could only last as long as his arm strength did, and he was unable to develop the finesse necessary to change pitching styles and save his career.

After spending 1993 and 1994 with the Yankees, he signed with the Chicago White Sox for the 1995 season but was traded back to the Angels at the trade deadline (31 July 1995). He suffered through a 2-18 year with a 7.48 ERA in 1996 (receiving a minor league demotion only in August, long after he could have used it to work on skills and regain his composure), after which he retired.

He attempted a comeback in 1998 with the White Sox; he climbed up the Sox's minor league ladder, and was promoted to the majors in September, going 5-0 with a 4.55 ERA. He signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for 1999, but pitched inconsistently and was released in July, after which he retired permanently. Of note during his time with the Brewers was that he had to bat; he posted a .095 batting average (2 for 21), with two singles, three RBI, and ten strikouts. Mostly he attempted to bunt, but when he was given the go-ahead to swing, he did so with his left arm only.

Nowadays he works as a motivational speaker.

Politician, Member of Canadian Parliament
1942-

Parliamentarian from 1993-present

Background information

Jim Abbott is the Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, British Columbia. He is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada and currently serves as the party's associate foreign affairs critic. He currently specializes in affairs specific to the Asian Pacific.

Abbott was born in Toronto, Ontario, on August 8, 1942. His employment background was in business before he entered politics in the 1990s. He is known for his socially conservative views and his persistent criticisms of the Liberal government.

Political beginnings

Abbott was originally a member of the Reform Party of Canada; his affiliation with the now-defunct party dates back to 1991. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and represented the riding of Kootenay East (the boundaries of which were later redrawn, becoming his current riding). During his time as a Reform MP he served as the Official Opposition's critic of the Senate government leader, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Solicitor General. He also vice-chaired the House's Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

He remained with the party after it became the Canadian Alliance in 2000. During this time he was the Opposition's critic of the ministries of amateur sport; he reprised his past duties as Canadian heritage critic during this period as well. He served on several House Standing Committees during the 36th parliament, including those dealing with agriculture, justice, and human rights.

Jim Abbott in today's parliament

The Canadian Alliance merged with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in December, 2003. Abbott continued to serve in the Opposition's shadow cabinet, and debated the government's policies regarding sport. After defending his incumbency in the 2004 Canadian Federal election, he currently sits in the third row of the Conservative caucus area of the House of Commons. He is seated next to Leon Benoit, a Conservative MP from Alberta.

Abbott's views can fairly be described as socially conservative: the sample of his speeches in the House of Commons indicate his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and foreign media ownership restrictions. He did apparently present a petition to the House asking the government not become militarily involved in Iraq in 2003, though he did also indicate that he thought the government may have made a hypocritical decision in requiring a United Nations sanction in order to enter Iraq while not doing the same in Kosovo.

One of Abbott's trademarks is his use of subtle humour in the form of political debates or attacks.

"All honourable members should pause and think about something other than politics. We should think about the two ducks spotted yesterday on the front lawn of Parliament Hill... However we regret that the ducks did not stay long enough for someone to bring their presence to the attention of the Prime Minister. It is the belief of many political observers that the Prime Minister should have known about them and even strolled out to look at them. It might well have been mood lifting for the Prime Minister to see a duck that was not lame."

Abbott's website (www.jimabbottmp.com) contains very little personal information about him, aside from a list of his past committee involvements within the House of Commons and a selection of his speeches and statements on the floor of the House. The majority of the speeches are extremely brief, save for one or two dialogue-like Hansard excerpts that occured between him and former heritage minister Sheila Copps. Among his more lengthy speeches were a posthumous tribute to the Queen Mother and a personal account of how his religious beliefs impact his decisions in parliament.

Abbott was also one of the most vocal critics of the CBC's decision to put hockey commentator Don Cherry on a seven second delay after he shared his opinions about the war in Iraq during Hockey Night in Canada.


Resources:
Federal Political Experience - ABBOT, JAMES http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=3&s=M December 14, 2004
Jim Abbott MP http://www.jimabbottmp.com/index.html December 13, 2004

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