Jim Abbott is often cited for the way he inspired young athletes to look beyond their physical limitations and compete against and become elite athletes themselves. If Abbott’s success with just one arm accomplished that, imagine what a baseball player born with no arms whatsoever could do.
Meet Myshaun Dozier, who is that armless baseball player. Dozier, a junior varsity outfielder at MacArthur High School (Decatur, Ill.) was born with TAR Syndrome, which causes the radius bone in his arms not to develop, leaving his hands attached directly to his shoulders. Of all the things he could do, Dozier fell in love with baseball, a sport which traditionally requires the full use of arms on every play.
No matter. Dozier refused to be deterred. Then, at age 16, he tried out for and made the MacArthur JV baseball team, as a second baseman.
“I didn’t think I was going to make the team because a little scrub like me, making the team and all of that it was really, it was really one of my greatest moments in my life, you know what I’m saying?” Dozier told Central Illinois NBC affiliate WAND’s Gordon Voit. “So I’m really going to take this as an opportunity to show people that not only me, but people like me can do something like this.”
So, how does Dozier do what he does? He bats just like anyone else, albeit with a shorter bat than most of his peers. And he fields his position at second base by stopping balls however he has to (ideally with his feet), then leaning over until his face is just inches off the ground to scoop up the ball, shift it to his right throwing hand and send it to first base, or wherever else the play is headed.
And no, his relay throws are not weak. They get there, so any team callous enough to try and advance an extra base when the ball goes to Dozier does so at their own peril.
The teen wears a special protective mask on his face because he can’t protect it with his appendages the way other players can, but that doesn’t hold him back.
In fact, nothing holds Dozier back, which is precisely what makes him most remarkable.
“He’s a good kid,” MacArthur JV coach Jesse Danbury told WAND. “He’s got a great smile, great attitude. He hustles harder than almost anybody. I mean, he kind of has to, but he just fits in like everyone else.”