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Imperfect: An Improbable Life | [Jim Abbott, Tim Brown]

Imperfect: An Improbable Life

In Imperfect, Jim Abbot retraces his remarkable journey. Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott as a boy dreamed of being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Michigan, by parents who saw in his condition not a disability but an extraordinary opportunity, Jim became a two-sport standout in high school, then an ace pitcher for the University of Michigan. But his journey was only beginning. By 21, he’d won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics and cracked the starting rotation of the California Angels....
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Publisher's Summary

On an overcast September day in 1993, Jim Abbott took the mound at Yankee Stadium and threw one of the most dramatic no-hitters in major-league history. The game was the crowning achievement in an unlikely success story, unseen in the annals of professional sports. In Imperfect, the one-time big league ace retraces his remarkable journey.

Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott as a boy dreamed of being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Michigan, by parents who saw in his condition not a disability but an extraordinary opportunity, Jim became a two-sport standout in high school, then an ace pitcher for the University of Michigan. But his journey was only beginning.

As a 19-year-old, Jim beat the vaunted Cuban National Team. By 21, 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 deliver a one-of-a-kind no-hitter.

It wouldn’t always be so good. After a season full of difficult losses - some of them by football scores - Jim was released, cut off from the game he loved. Unable to say good-bye so soon, Jim tried to come back, pushing himself to the limit - and through one of the loneliest experiences an athlete can have.

But always, even then, there were children and their parents waiting for him outside the clubhouse doors, many of them with disabilities like his, seeking consolation and advice. These obligations became Jim’s greatest honor.

In this honest and insightful memoir, Jim Abbott reveals the insecurities of a life spent as the different one, how he habitually hid his disability in his right front pocket, and why he chose an occupation in which the uniform provided no front pockets. 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.

©2012 Jim Abbott, Tim Brown (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"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.” (Baseball 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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Brady United States 05-27-14
    Brady United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For Love of the Game - Part II"

    If you ever saw the movie "For Love of the Game" with Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston, this book has a similar format. Jim Abbott recounts his life growing up playing baseball and having just one hand in-between while recounting his innings of his no-hitter game he threw against the Indians when he was a Yankees' pitcher. If you like baseball, you will enjoy this book. The title sums it up. It's a great read and inspirational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Felipe Escarra Cutler Bay, Florida, United States 03-18-14
    Felipe Escarra Cutler Bay, Florida, United States 03-18-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Read."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great story. Very easy to follow. Jim did a phenomenal job narrating the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jim Abbott.


    What does Jim Abbott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His emotional tone. Very well spoken and deliberate.


    Any additional comments?

    Great story. A definite must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Seal Beach, CA, United States 02-07-14
    Donald Seal Beach, CA, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Listen, Great Person, Great Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend to a friend. It is interesting to hear the story in Jim's own words.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Imperfect?

    Going to his daughter's school to speak to young children.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, numerous moments. The way people treated him and the way that he affected the lives of others (mostly youngsters).


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Santa Maria , CA, USA 09-19-13
    Thomas Santa Maria , CA, USA 09-19-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Good book about baseball, life and resilience"
    What did you love best about Imperfect?

    Actually I liked the fact that Jim read the book. He was a very good narrator and because of that I felt more connected to his story.


    What other book might you compare Imperfect to and why?

    "The Big Bam". I highly recommend this book also because it is about baseball and the life of Babe Ruth. Even though Jim Abbot never achieved the status of Babe Ruth their paths through baseball were similar. Both had highs and lows in their careers, days when things went their way and days when they did not. I think Jim would have done himself some good to have read this book when he was younger as he might not have been so hard on himself when he got older.


    Have you listened to any of Jim Abbott’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I think he did a wonderful job at narrating and I would like to see him narrate more.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "1.5"
    Only because I thought that was a funny endearing nickname he was given on one of is teams.


    Any additional comments?

    Good Book. Hope Jim narrates more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 07-18-12
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2011

    UncleHammy

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    "Great story!"
    What made the experience of listening to Imperfect the most enjoyable?

    The author read the book himself. It gave the book a more peronal feel.


    What aspect of Jim Abbott’s performance would you have changed?

    Not being a professional reader Jim Abbott's performace was little more than simply reading the book. Having said that, being his personal story Abbott's reading the story make is seem much more personal and emotional.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Personal an inspirational


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Teeley 06-24-12
    Mike Teeley 06-24-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A tribute to personal commitment"
    What did you love best about Imperfect?

    Abbott's inning by inning journey to a major league baseball no hitter frames the story of a remarkable athlete and person. His personal dedication to a normal, one-handed, life makes an easy and very interesting story of an individual's development against very challenging barriers that would have stopped a lesser person and their family.Jim Abbott's story is less about baseball than the will of a family and that family's impact on a child. Jim's family is a model for other parents faced with a child not seen as "whole" by others in that child's environment. Jim Abbott, as the narrator, adds a special touch to the book because you can feel the depth of the pain and the height of the successes he experiences as a child and an athlete who learns to "love his hand". His voice conveys so much more than words as he discusses the many challenges of competition.For those of us who watched his success at Michigan, The Olympics and in professional baseball we now have a new level of appreciation for a truly remarkable person who, by the way had only one hand, This is a book for every parent, baseball fan, Michigan Alum and child who feels less than perfect.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jim Abbott as the one person who really understands.


    What does Jim Abbott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Te emotions of having lived the book.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Perfect!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jain Avon, CT, United States 06-15-12
    Jain Avon, CT, United States 06-15-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great inspirational story"

    What a great inspirational story, a great story on overcoming obstacles. You don't know need to be a baseball fan to enjoy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David LAKE ODESSA, MICHIGAN, United States 05-04-12
    David LAKE ODESSA, MICHIGAN, United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Honest and Entertaining"
    If you could sum up Imperfect in three words, what would they be?

    Honest, Interesting, Entertaining


    What other book might you compare Imperfect to and why?

    It might be a stretch, but it reminded me a little of Paper Lion. I am sure the sports theme had a lot to do with it but one thing I really like about both is the frank, unassuming nature that was used to tell each of the stories.


    What about Jim Abbott’s performance did you like?

    I was impressed that Abbott read the story himself and I though it added to the entertainment value knowing it was his story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No especially but a couple parts made me laugh out loud.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this book because Jim has always been a sentimental favorite of mine which is probably not a reason he would of approve of for buying his book, but none the less, that is what first caught my eye. However once I got started the book is well written and interesting enought to stand on its own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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