Greatest Underdogs in Sports History

You are here

Greatest Underdogs in Sports History

In honor of Linsanity—Jeremy Lin and nine more zero-to-hero athletes.
Adversity is the name of the game when it comes to underdogs, whether it is the athlete’s race, nationality, background, or pedigree holding them back from glory. In the case of baseball pitcher Jim Abbott—it was his missing right hand. Yup, Abbott was born without his right hand, but never let a missing appendage get in the way of his aspirations of being a pro baseball player. Abbott (who also managed to play quarterback in high school) joined the (then) California Angels straight out of college, becoming a member of the starting rotation. He did so without any experience in the minors, and still finished fifth in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year.

Abbott went on to have a successful career between six MLB teams, thanks to a quickly timed technique of alternating his left hand for pitching and fielding with a glove. His career highlight came on Sept. 4, 1993, while pitching for the New York Yankees, when Abbott unfathomably threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

more galleries

  • Get Away
    8 vacations that will seriously spice up your sex life.
  • Met Gala Girls
    Photos of 40 gorgeous ladies from last night's event.
  • 25 Easy Recipes
    Healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts to try.
  • Natural Supps
    4 alternatives to your typical chews, goos, and powders.