Abbott and Righetti chat with fans
Former Yankees pitching greats answer questions
Yankees: Jim Abbott will be up first for your questions.
nhyankfan: Which was a more exciting moment in your professional career -- winning your very first professional game in 1989 for the Angels or pitching the no-hitter in 1993 for the Yankees?
Jim Abbott: Well, they are both very special. I would hate to say one was better than the other. Your first MLB win is like a dream come true, where the no-hitter is a surprise and something you never expected. They are different, but they are both great.
mlbrian: What do you think of the World Baseball Classic? Do you think baseball will be added back to the Olympics?
Abbott: It doesn't look like it will be back in the Olympics for a long time. I like the WBC. It presents some difficulties scheduling, but it is great seeing the pride of the different countries. I really enjoyed representing the United States and it is great to see players get caught up in that excitement.
jhman112: How did it feel to go straight to Anaheim out of college and be one of the few players to skip the Minors?
Abbott: It was exciting. I was completely surprised, but I felt I was fortunate with the timing. I pitched in the right place at the right time. To make your debut in a Major League uniform was quite a leap. I almost couldn't believe it.
mlbrian2: What will you miss the most about old Yankee Stadium? Do you have an old Stadium keepsake that you saved or will get?
Abbott: I'll miss the view from the dugout. It was always an incredible vantage point. You were sitting so low, for those long games, it was incredible. I have the pitching rubber they dug out of the mound after my no hitter. I have it at my house.
289hypo: Who was the best slugger you guys ever faced?
Abbott: Boy, there are so many of them. Probably George Brett was the best hitter I ever faced. He didn't swing at bad pitches. He was one of those hitters that had power and hit for average. He could pull an inside pitch and hit the outside pitch the opposite way. You had to pitch perfectly to get him out.
hiia: Who was your favorite Yankees teammate?
Abbott: I had a lot of them. My favorite guy to play with was Don Mattingly. We were friends. We weren't the closest friend, but I always admired the way he played and approached the game. Everyone in that locker room loved him for the way he conducted himself. He was a great teammate.
noce88: Who was your idol growing up, either in baseball or just in life?
Abbott: Nolan Ryan was my idol in baseball. I admired how hard he threw the baseball. He was a legend when I was a kid. I had all his cards. I wish I could have pitched like him. Abraham Lincoln is a lifelong hero of mine for his steadfastness and belief in his principles despite enormous adversity.
Abbott: Thanks for the questions. It was great talking to all of you. I look forward to doing this again soon.
Yankees: Stay tuned -- Dave is on his way to take your questions next.
pet46: What was the most important lesson that you learned as a Major League pitcher that you try to teach your young pitchers?
Dave Righetti: Well, I think the most important thing is you never know how long your career is going to be. You want to act like a professional from Day 1 and have it carry you through your career.
289hypo: When you tossed your no-hitter, did you think you had a shot early in the game?
Righetti: You know, you do but you don't think about it until later in the game. The only time I thought I was going to go for it was in the eighth inning. I said before that, I wouldn't do it. I was just concentrating on winning the ballgame.
289hypo: Who was the toughest power hitter you ever faced?
Righetti: Probably Jim Rice, who just went in the Hall of Fame. It would be him or Eddie Murray -- pure power hitters.
mlbrian:: Who do you think are some of the best young pitchers in the game?
Righetti: There are so many now. (Josh) Johnson, (Justin) Verlander, there are a whole crew of young great pitchers in the game, and it is really great for baseball.
289hypo: Do you have any memorabilia from the old House that Ruth built?
Righetti: Actually, I got a chair with the No. 19 on it from the stands.
kevingm: If you did not play baseball what do you think you would have done for a living?
Righetti: I probably would have worked at my father's plant. It is a rendering plant. I probably would have ended up there. I wanted to be an engineer -- someone who builds bridges and stadiums. I have to run to get ready for the game. Sorry about the short chat, but we'll do this again soon and talk longer.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.