Jim Abbott’s Major-League Debut

The debut came on April 8, 1989. The Seattle Times reported that the

Mariners won 7-0 as Seattle’s Mark Langston deflated 46,847 who came to pull for Abbott. It was Langston’s ninth career shutout.

But Abbott was hardly beaten. In 4 2/3 innings, the rookie left-hander allowed only six singles, but was up and down as the crowd roared to his every success, every strike.

Harold Reynolds, the first batter against Abbott, took the first pitch, a called strike, and went on to slap a 2-2 pitch into right for a single.

Reynolds said: “I spent all day getting ready to make this just another game. And when I got up in the first inning, the crowd was acting like it was the World Series. It was great.”

Abbott gave up two runs in the first – perhaps chalked up to nerves as much as leadoff singles – and two more on Alvin Davis’ crushing bases-loaded bloop hit in the fifth, his final inning. His downfall started when second baseman Mark McLemore blew a possible double-play ball.

Davis is Seattle’s best batsman and he proved it again, flipping a two-run single to center. After lining out and being robbed for the better part of the first four games/losses, the Mariners finally had a dunk in their favor as well as a 4-0 lead.

Coles and Jeffrey Leonard singled to make it 6-0 and after Abbott walked Brantley, Manager Doug Rader took him out of the game.

The rookie said he felt good getting a big hand from the crowd to go out for the first inning, but noted that once the Mariners put the first two batters on base, it was just another ballgame.

Abbott said: “Right now I’m a little disappointed. Perhaps when my disappointment is over, I’ll have a better understanding of parts of the game. I don’t know how to rate myself. I didn’t have real good stuff.”

“I was caught up in the hoopla a little, warming up. Maybe my mind was not as focused as I’d want it to be. In the first, I think I was unnerved by all the attention.

“Right now it’s tough to look at it in a positive light. The results took some of the sweetness away. Perhaps a few years from now I’ll look back, if I’m still around, and say that things weren’t that bad.”

Seattle manager Jim Lefebvre said: “Abbott was a victim of timing, that’s all. He faced a team that was due, due to win and due to have a few cheap hits fall in after four games of coming up empty.

“And he had the misfortune to face Langston, who was in total command of that game. Langston is in a class of his own, the kind of guy who build a pitching staff around.”

Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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