Blue Jays: Drafted, But Not Signed All-Stars
Pan American Games Medalist
In 1985, Blue Jays scouts went looking at an interesting 18-year-old playing high school baseball and football in Flint Michigan. Jim Abbott who became one of the most famous pitchers in baseball history, not just because he was a great pitcher, but he only had one hand which meant he had to throw and field with the same hand.
The Blue Jays selected Abbott in the second last round of the draft (36th Round), however, they could not come to terms and Abbott attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After three successful years of college baseball, which also included participating in the 1987 Pan American Games where he won a silver medal he would go selected once again.
The California Angels selected Abbott with the eighth overall pick in the 1988 Amateur Draft. Instead of starting through the Angels minor league system, Abbott represented Team U.S.A. at the 1988 Olympics winning a gold medal when baseball was being positioned as a demonstration event.
Abbott would skip the minor league system and play with the Angels in 1989 and finished with a 12-12 record and 3.92 ERA. Abbott finished second in wins by a rookie and also finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Despite having just one hand, Abbott would record 18 wins in 1991 and finished third in Cy Young voting and in 1993 he would do what has only been done 303 times in the history of baseball which was throw a no-hitter.
Abbott finished his career with 87 wins and a 19.6 WAR over his career. He is the only player to ever make the major leagues from his high school and has the third-most career wins of any pitcher drafted out of the University of Michigan.