Listen free for 30 days

Imperfect

An Improbable Life
Narrated by: Jim Abbott
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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

Critic reviews

"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)

More from the same

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 0 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 0 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jonathan Love
  • Jonathan Love
  • 15-03-17

A Must for Parents of Kids with All Abilities

I listened to this one about five years ago after it was initially published, and wrote a review that was subsequently lost without uploading to audible. Since it's baseball season and several years since, I re-listened to it and enjoyed it even more.

As mentioned in my headline, this book is really about parenting and teaching kids (regardless of ability) to believe in themselves and encourage them to seek after their dreams. I remember my mother telling me about Jim Abbott when he was drafted and headed to spring training as the "one-handed pitcher"; she innately knew, like Jim's parents, the value of teaching kids about adversity and overcoming them. I was quite an impressionable 10 year old, especially with anything about baseball, so hearing about Jim was something special... even if I was an Oakland Athletic's fan.

The book itself reads like the movie, For Love of the Game, as it ostensibly follows the thoughts of Jim Abbott during his no hitter with the Yankees in 1993 as it does with Kevin Costner's character portrayal in the movie; although there is no connection between Abbott's autobiography and the movie. However the book focuses more on Abbott's upbringing and baseball development in spite of his missing hand and is really the point of the book and the reason why every parent, regardless of their child's circumstance, should read this book and learn the empowering lessons of both Jim and his parents.

The anecdotes around his college baseball and Olympic career were a real treat, but so was the overarching story of his no hitter. I normally listen at 3x speed and has no issues with the narration. I also really enjoyed Jim Abbott as the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brady
  • Brady
  • 27-05-14

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeffrey Ruggles
  • Jeffrey Ruggles
  • 23-06-19

Loved this book

Growing up, I was a Jim Abbott fan. After reading his story, I am taken back into fandom once again. His story is relatable and inspiring, not because it’s feel-good, which it is in parts, but because it’s real. Jim’s story is one of pain and triumph, with a little baseball on the side too. Being narrated by him makes the story all that much more enjoyable. I totally loved this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James  S Sharrow
  • James S Sharrow
  • 21-05-19

Amazing story!!

Hearing the story of this guy, I felt like I was really there not just the baseball parts but through out the whole story it was AMAZING!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for KARLA
  • KARLA
  • 19-06-16

Amazing well written and well narrated.

I have never read a "sports" story before. I don't even know that much about baseball. I was glued to the story, saddened by the cruelty of others, amazed by his young parents ability to raise such a fine man. I even loved all the baseball stories and sat on the edge with Abbott as he pitched each ball rooting for him all the way!
I enjoyed every minute!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donald C Hamlin II
  • Donald C Hamlin II
  • 23-06-15

Enjoyable

I liked hearing the background and what I believe is the honesty of his story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BonJo
  • BonJo
  • 09-05-15

Good Life Lessons

A good interesting stiry. lots of life lessons for all. In some ways it was fun to listen to because I remembered some of the games. It is well written. I liked it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Felipe Escarra
  • Felipe Escarra
  • 18-03-14

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donald
  • Donald
  • 07-02-14

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).

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas
  • Thomas
  • 19-09-13

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.