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Imperfect: An Improbable Life [Kindle Edition]

Jim Abbott , Tim Brown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.01 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“Honest, touching, and beautifully rendered . . . Far more than a book about baseball, it is a deeply felt story of triumph and failure, dreams and disappointments. Jim Abbott has hurled another gem.”—Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Man
Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott dreamed of someday being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Michigan, by parents who encouraged him to compete, Jim would become an ace pitcher for the University of Michigan. But his journey was only beginning: By twenty-one, he’d won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics and—without spending a day in the minor leagues—cracked the starting rotation of the California Angels. In 1991, he would finish third in the voting for the Cy Young Award. Two years later, he would don Yankee pinstripes and pitch one of the most dramatic no-hitters in major-league history.
In this honest and insightful book, Jim Abbott reveals the challenges he faced in becoming an elite pitcher, the insecurities he dealt with in a life spent as the different one, and the intense emotion generated by his encounters with disabled children from around the country. With a riveting pitch-by-pitch account of his no-hitter providing the ideal frame for his story, this unique athlete offers readers an extraordinary and unforgettable memoir.
“Compelling . . . [a] big-hearted memoir.”—Los Angeles Times
“Inspirational.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Includes an exclusive conversation between Jim Abbott and Tim Brown in the back of the book.

Editorial Reviews Review

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?"


Advance praise for Imperfect

“Jim Abbott is the embodiment of perseverance.  The obstacles that he was able to overcome to play the game at the highest level are remarkable and his story can teach all of us valuable lessons.  Jim was a fierce competitor. He never viewed his disability as a disadvantage and, as a result, it wasn’t.  Imperfect is a terrific story and the best part is that it’s true.” —Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. 
“As I read Imperfect: An Improbable Life, Jim Abbott’s love for the game jumped off the pages. It was like Jim was right in front of me telling me his life’s journey. I felt his pain, hurt, joy, exhilaration, disappointment and accomplishments throughout his life. Jim has always been and continues to be an inspiration for all of us.”—Don Mattingly, former New York Yankee captain and current Los Angeles Dodgers manager
“The story of Jim Abbott—wonderfully crafted by Tim Brown—is everything you’d expect from a baseball life: funny, heartbreaking, and triumphant, though not necessarily in that order. Still, to label this fine book ‘an inspiration’ almost misses the larger point. Imperfect isn’t about learning to cope with a disability. It’s about becoming a man in America.”—Mark Kriegel, author of Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich and Namath: A Biography

“Jim Abbott was 20–22 as a pitcher for the Yankees, and yet, as a man who played the game with one hand, an argument should be made that he belongs among the greatest players of all time. In Imperfect: An Improbable Life, Abbott and one of America's leading sports journalists, Tim Brown, tell the amazing story of a man’s dignity and grace in overcoming a forbidding physical hurdle to pitch 10 big-league seasons and to throw a no-hitter. Abbott won every day he took the mound. This book is required inspirational reading for all fans of the human spirit.”—Ian O’Connor, New York Times bestselling author of The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter and Arnie & Jack
“If you think you knew the inspirational story of Jim Abbott, think again. With Tim Brown, Abbott gives an unflinching account of his remarkable baseball life—the joys and the pains. With each chapter you know him better and root even harder for him.”—Tom Verducci, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and New York Times bestselling co-author of The Yankee Years
Imperfect is one of the finest baseball memoirs ever written, an honest, touching, and beautifully rendered story that will remind even the most jaded fans why they loved the game. It is far more than a book about baseball; it is a deeply felt story of triumph and failure, dreams and disappointments. Jim Abbott has hurled another gem.”—Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season

Product Details

  • File Size: 3966 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345523261
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NKHC8A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring February 29, 2012
By Terry L
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am somewhat prejudiced in writing this review because Jim Abbot once wrote a letter to my son, Sam. Sam was born with a handicapped arm and hand. When he was in grade school, the school guidance counselor contacted Jim Abbot and asked him if he would write my son a letter. Jim did. And it was not just a form letter of some kind; it was a personal letter to Sam. My son was very impressed that a major league baseball player would write to him. He could relate to what Jim told him because he and Jim had similar handicaps. Anyway, to keep a short story short, Sam was very excited and inspired that Jim wrote to him.

So what does that have to do with the book? Well, nothing, I guess, other than to point out what type of man Jim is. But anyway, back to the book. To sum it up, this is a well-written, interesting, and inspiring story of a man who didn't give up.

Like all of us Jim had his ups and downs, both before he became a major league player and during the times he was one. At one point in his career the big league basically gave up on him. But he didn't give up, and he came back to pitch again. That is what is inspiring. The guy just didn't give up. And because of my son, I know what Jim means when he talks about hiding his hand in his pocket. I know it is not easy being someone who is different than others. However, really Jim, why pick on the Cleveland Indians when pitching that no-hitter? Man, we have enough sports problems in northeast Ohio without something like that. That's right, I'm a Cleveland sports fan. That isn't easy you know.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a great book! March 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I was little and I finished a book I had loved, I would hug it to me.

I haven't done that for years, decades.

I hugged this book.

I have always been intrigued by Jim Abbott and was pleased when he played briefly for my beloved White Sox. It is amazing to me, as to so many others, that he could become a one-handed Major League pitcher.

It wasn't until I read this book that I realized - and it seems so obvious now - that Jim Abbott wanted more than anything not to be known as the one-handed guy. He just wanted to play baseball.

He is so unstinting in telling his story. He grew up in Flint, Michigan, where times were tough and sports were everywhere. His family life was complicated. He knew from a very young age that he loved baseball, and he worked hard to become a baseball player. Along the way he attended the University of Michigan which had always been his dream; played for the U.S. Baseball team and won a gold medal at the Olympics in Seoul; played for several major and minor league baseball teams; and on September 3, 1993, he threw a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium. And then there were the children. He always found time for the challenged children and their families who looked up to him.

Jim Abbott is incredibly humble and repeatedly thanks the people who have supported him throughout his life, from his dad who wrote him a note that said "Proud of you, son," to his teammates and coaches, to the teacher who taught him how to tie his shoes. Jim Abbott walked away from Major League Baseball when he was just 31 years old.

So now you know the plot of this book. You need to read it yourself to find out how beautifully written it is. The writing team of Jim Abbott and Tim Brown (a Yahoo!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Improbable Story March 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When Jim Abbott made the California Angels opening day roster, it made a great feel good story on the sports networks and national news shows. However, there was so much more to the story of this pitcher. In "Imperfect", Abbott reflects on that life fom his birth to his final days in the big leagues.

To his chagrin, many know Jim Abbot as the "one-handed pitcher". Giving this label trivializes his life's work including throwing the 234th no-hitter in major league history. Focusing on the number of hands neglects his professional abilities. Even as some might see the disability as a burden, Abbott notes that it might have given him the ultimate drive for his success. In turn, the book is so much more than a book about a "one-handed pitcher".

The chapters of the book alternate between the innings of Abbott's no-hitter and his growth from birth to his major league career. The book climaxes with the final out of his best game. Abbott credits his parents for not allowing him to feel sorry for himself. But further credit goes to fellow players and many others along his path. Abbott is also refreshingly honest and humble about his career. Known as a kind person, this trait is particularly refreshing in a professional athlete.

Being an avid follower of baseball during the years of Abbott's career, I enjoyed reliving many of these baseball moments. It was certainly fun to revisit many names I had forgotten. It was even better to be inspired and entertained by this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn near perfect March 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A captivating, inspirational memoir by one of the finest human beings I've ever met. I was a beat writer covering the Angels during Jim Abbott's career and found him humble, kind, honest and classy -- four traits very rare among the pro athletes I knew during 30 years as a sportwriter. His book reflects all those qualities and more, and co-author Tim Brown crafts the material with skill. Alternating chapters move us from a blow-by-blow account of Abbott's no-hitter with the Yankees to his remarkable life story. Without that no-hitter, Abbott's fame might not warrant a best-selling memoir, yet I found the game recap boring compared with his life saga. Abbott tells his story warts and all, without self-promotion. It's not a gossipy insider's tale, more like G-rated truth. But it sings with pathos and passion. You don't need to love baseball to love this book. It ought to be No. 1.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming adversity
A great example of how resilience and passion for something can make a huge difference in the journey of life when all odds are against you.
Published 3 days ago by Kate
4.0 out of 5 stars A hero for the strugglers
Enjoyable read for baseball fans, I am in general a sports nut, however my knowlege of baseball is limited being Australian. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Ray Marx
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A must read, especially for baseball nuts like myself. I really liked how the chapters alternate between telling his incredible life story and... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ted N.
1.0 out of 5 stars Great story, inspiring, but boring and non confrontational
I admire Jim and his story, but this could have been a much better book had there been some more "dirt" - the guy is just too nice, he doesn't throw anyone under the bus,... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Will
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Loved the book. It is very inspirational. I also got it for my boys to read and they enjoyed it.
Published 27 days ago by Tuffy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I really enjoyed the book. A must read for any baseball fan. He takes you behind the curtain. He lets you into his world. I really enjoyed it.
Published 29 days ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Took a chance on this book - turned out to be a huge hit with my...
Each Christmas, I've chosen several sport-themed books as gifts for my husband. He didn't discover a love of reading until his early 40's, having struggled in school and believing... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Grandma Zizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Baseball Book I've Read
This book is about much more than I expected. Jim Abbott is so much more than a guy who overcame long odds. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Hearing the story in his own words made this book special.
Great story that was told in his own words. Great human that overcame many obstacles and was one of the best.
Published 1 month ago by Donald
3.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect: An Improbable Life
I love Jim Abbott's story, the basics of it... the part we've all always known. This story, though? This book? It's... almost pure cheese. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anna M. Ligtenberg
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