star and major league pitcher Jim Abbott was one of 11 former players and
coaches inducted Wednesday into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
“My baseball life has been one of taking the next step
and learning how to do things more efficiently with my left hand and arm, and I
am very proud of representing Michigan as the school’s first honoree,”
said Abbott, who was born without a right hand.
Abbott led the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles before going
directly to the major leagues. He played 10 seasons with the California Angels,
New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers from 1989-1999.
In 1993, he pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees against the
Cleveland Indians. He retired for the 1997 season, but soon returned for two
more. His last one, with Milwaukee,
required him to bat. He had two hits and drove in three runs.
Abbott also won an Olympic gold medal in 1988, when baseball
was a demonstration sport.
Other former players named to the hall’s second class
include: Pete Incaviglia (Oklahoma State),
Fred Lynn (Southern California), John Olerud (Washington
State), Phil Stephenson (Wichita
State) and Derek Tatsuno (Hawaii).
Tatsuno still holds the NCAA Div. I record he set in 1979
for most strikeouts in a season 234. He also set the record for most wins at
20. Florida State’s
Mike Loynd tied the record in 1986.
The late Jim Brock, who led Arizona
State to two College World Series
titles and coached Barry Bonds in college, was among five former coaches
elected. Chuck “Bobo” Brayton (Washington
State), the late Bibb Falk (Texas),
Jerry Kindall (Arizona) and the
late Dick Siebert (Minnesota)
also were honored.
“I’m just very glad to be here at 81,” Brayton
said. “I called Tom Lasorda the other day and told him about my terrible
leg problems, and he just laughed and asked how the tires would be on an
81-year-old car. They wear out on you.”
Brayton said one of his favorite expressions in baseball and
in life remains: “Excellence shows, commitment counts and quality
“All of us in the Hall of Fame owe quite a bit to the
game of baseball, its integrity and tradition,” he said.
Olerud spoke of suffering a brain hemorrhage while at Washington
State and being fortunate not to
have had major health effects.
“It was truly a close call medically and a
miracle,” he said. “I was very fortunate also to have had a dad who
was a doctor and could treat those sports injuries and a coach like Bobo
Brayton teaching me in college.
Kindall said he feels fortunate never to have had a
“I’ve coached or played all my life,” he said,
“and I have been surrounded by terrific people.”
The 11 were selected from a list of 50 nominees by a
– Associated Press
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