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12 MLB Players Who Overcame Physical/Mental Disabilities

We think of athletes as gladiators with perfect bodies, minds, and pension plans. Somehow, even without all of the qualifications we think are needed to become a professional baseball player, some men have been able to overcome their physical and mental disabilities to join the Major League Baseball ranks.

Since baseball’s earliest days, players with “flaws” that made them seem less than perfect have silenced the doubters. Not all were great or had Hall of Fame careers, but nevertheless they cracked a big league roster at some point even with a disadvantage. The most brilliant ones of them actually even managed to turn what made them different into an edge against the competition. They were never handicapped by any of it. These players instead let their competitive nature take over.

Physical and mental disabilities have held many people back from accomplishing what they want to do, especially in sports. It has also limited our perception of what those people can even offer. In baseball, where skills vary greatly and the game continues to evolve, these 12 players made the big leagues with a notable or unique handicap. In this list, we'll try to feature some of the more recent players along with the better ones from the past, that many of us probably never realized had something going against them other than a lack of color photography.

Medical advancements have helped to fix some of the problems that plagued these athletes before their careers began. However, these men still overcame what may have caused others to not even dream about lacing up some professional baseball cleats. Many of MLB players have dealt with adversity, but these 12 stand out to me as some of the most important.

12 Chad Bentz 

via Chad Bentz

11 Ryne Duren 

via waswatching.com

10 Curtis Pride 

via rewordit.org

9 Antonio Alfonseca 

via 11points.com

8 Jim Mecir 

via jimmecir.com

7 Freddy Sanchez 

via notinhalloffame.com

6 Bob Wickman 

via cleveland.com

5 Jim Eisenreich 

via foxsports.com

4 Jim Abbott 

via hlhsdad.com

3 Hack Wilson 

via sportslistoftheday.com

2 Rube Waddell 

via cooperstownersincanada.com

1 Mordecai Brown 

via en.wikipedia.org

Mordecai Brown earned the nickname “Three-Finger” for very obvious reasons; he only had three fingers on his pitching hand due to a farming accident. This actually may have worked to his advantage as the special grip allowed him to throw the ball differently from anybody else. Brown won 239 games in his career and posted a 2.06 ERA. When the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, Brown won two of the games including a shutout in his start. Brown would later enter the Hall of Fame, surely something many would doubt from a guy with 40% of his fingers missing on his pitching hand.

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12 MLB Players Who Overcame Physical/Mental Disabilities