A Wizard in His Own Right
By Mark Rogoff and Allie
Hall of Fame football player Ozzie Newsome
was inducted into the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of
Excellence prior to Thursday’s United States semifinal.
Newsome, now Executive Vice President/General Manager of the
Baltimore Ravens, grew up in a segregated Alabama during the 1960s.
The social climate didn’t allow Newsome to play in Little League
until the age of 14, when he joined a Senior Little League team in
Muscle Shoals. The University of Alabama alum played in the Muscle
Shoals Little League Association for two years.
“The fun that we had, I still have some friendships from those two
years, I think the foundation was laid for what I do right now,” he
said. “I’m in several other Hall of Fames, but when I got the call,
the letter that I was going to be enshrined, it awarded me the
opportunity to think back to when [I was playing].”
Newsome played baseball in high school, but attended Alabama on a
football scholarship. He was a first-round pick of the Cleveland
Browns, and went on to catch 662 passes for nearly 8,000 years
during his 13-year National Football League career. He was a
three-time Pro Bowl selection.
“I’ve always watched the Little League World Series,” Newsome said
when asked about taking part in the event. “It’s the excitement that
runs through the game. This is something special, not special for
the United States, but special for the world.”
Abbott and…Little League
Former major league pitcher Jim Abbott paid a visit to the Little
League Baseball World Series on Thursday to help promote a new
campaign from the Office of Disability Employment Policy called
Proving Individuals with Talent Can Help (PITCH). PITCH encourages
businesses to hire people with disabilities and to educate these
businesses about the talent people with disabilities can provide.
Abbott, who was born without a right hand, is the campaign
“People with disabilities are known for what they can’t do, not what
they can do,” he said. “I wanted to be like everyone else, but being
different really is a blessing. You don’t overcome a disability, but
you use it and get better.”
Despite not having a right hand, Abbott pitched for 10 seasons in
the majors with the California Angels (1989-92 and 1995-96), New
York Yankees (1993-94), Chicago White Sox (1995 and 1998) and
Milwaukee Brewers (1999). He may best be remembered for tossing a
no-hitter on September 4, 1993 against the Cleveland Indians at
Yankee Stadium. Abbott also won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the
1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
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