Coleman Shannon doesn't like doing interviews. He prefers to blend into the background and be just another player on the Johnsonville Pony League roster. But Shannon's become a national sensation after the one armed pitcher threw a no hitter on April 24th against Timmonsville. "I don't want any special treatment," Shannon said. "If I mess up, I mess up - I should be corrected for it."
Shannon was born with a condition known as Ameila, as his right arm stopped growing at the elbow. Watching Coleman pitch with his left hand and take his glove and put it on in one fluid motion will remind many baseball fans of Jim Abbott. Abbott starred at the University of Michigan, won a gold medal for the US Olympic team and threw a no hitter as a member of the New York Yankees.
Coleman's mother, Jessica Shannon, says that she often read the story of Jim Abbott to her son when he was growing up with the hopes that one day he would play baseball. Jessica gives credit to Coleman's Johnsonville teammates who have always stuck by him and supported him She says it is those teammates who have given her son the courage to never give up on the diamond.
On Monday night, Shannon threw 4 2/3 innings giving up two earned runs in Johnsonville's 10-4 win. He pitches left handed, but bats from the right side of the plate. The 14 year old 8th grader is planning on trying out for Johnsonville's JV baseball team next season with the ultimate goal of playing for the varsity Flashes in high school.
"It's the story of life told through the game of baseball," Coleman's coach Kyle Daniel said. "You have to admire anybody for that. Coleman really is inpsiring. He motivates me personally and he motivates these kids."
From WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis
One of the highlights of my broadcasting career was being able to cover Jim Abbott's no-hitter in 1993 while I was a sports producer at WCBS-TV. I wrote a blog about it in 2008 and you can read it HERE. I always thought Jim Abbott was one of the most inspiring stories in all of sports. It was amazing to see Coleman Shannon pitch the same way Abbott does and the most amazing part is that he has never seen video of Jim Abbott pitch. A special thanks to coach Daniel, the Shannon family and all the good folks in Johnsonville.