Jim Abbott to share his story, help disabled kids

There’s a great chance to hear some good baseball talk and help a good cause on Thursday, Oct. 21, in Kansas City.

Jim Abbott, the no-hit pitcher who spent 10 years in the Majors despite being born without a right hand, will share his inspirational story in a conversation with Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski at the Bruce Watkins Cultural Heritage Center at 3700 Blue Parkway. The program will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT.

This is the launch of the “Inspired Performances” series of the National Sports Center for the Disabled-Kansas City. Proceeds will benefit NSCD-KC and its free sports camps for kids with special needs. Tickets are $50 per person for lunch and the program. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 which includes a pre-event meet-and-greet session with Abbott.

To order tickets, call 816-513-7571 or go on-line at www.nscd.org/kansascity.

Also scheduled to appear are two former Royals outfielders, Jim Eisenreich and Willie Wilson. Eisenreich successfully battled Tourette Syndrome in a 15-year Major League career. Wilson is a member of the Royals Hall of Fame.

Abbott, from Flint, Mich., was the Angels’ first-round draft choice in 1988. For his play at the University of Michigan, he won the Golden Spikes Award. In his first three years with the Angels, he won 40 games. He pitched his no-hitter for the Yankees on Sept. 4, 1993, against the Indians. And, of course, he threw AND fielded left-handed.

Just FYI: Abbott didn’t have overwhelming luck against the Royals in his career, going 6-12 against them in 25 games. Oh, and Eisenreich was 4-for-12, .333, against the big lefty but Wilson was a mere 1-for-11, .091.

It’s all being arranged by Bob Kendrick, who did such a great job for years at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He tells us that more that 500 kids with physical or mental challenges participated in the NSCD-KC sports camps this year, learning soccer from the Wizards, football from the Chiefs, baseball from the Royals and basketball from UMKC athletes.

— Dick Kaegel


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