Getting to know Peter Gray, the one-armed MLB player

By Boris Alexander Cruz Caballero

11/09/2021 – 8:00 AM

This story has as its main concept, sports inclusion, despite its enormous physical difference, Peter Gray fulfilled his dream, sport in general is loaded with impressive stories, in this case baseball brings us the story of Peter Gray the baseball player who played with one arm.

At the age of 7, Peter Gray was in a car accident where he lost his right arm in 1923, his arm had to be amputated above the elbow.

As every child was a lover of sports and especially baseball, that led him to learn to bat and throw the ball with his left arm, to defend, he caught the ball in his glove and then quickly took it off and in a single movement he passed the ball to his left arm and could throw it.

As expected, Peter Gray was the victim of mistreatment and rejection by colleagues and rivals.

At 19 years old, he was playing outfielder for the Hanover Lits Baseball Club. He would then go semi-pro with Pine Grove in Pennsylvania and Scranton in Brooklyn, New York.

On December 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, at which time many Americans chose to enlist in the army and Peter was no exception, but he was denied the opportunity to fight for his country, due to his physical disability.

“I learned how to play baseball like that, I’m sure I can handle a rifle,” Gray said.

A year later, he landed a minor league contract with the Canadian-American League’s Three Rivers Club.

In his first game, a lot of the public attended the stadium to see him play, he played in the outfield, in the bottom of the ninth, with 2 outs and the bases loaded he had to hit. On the first pitch, Gray hit a line to right field, driving in the tying and winning runs. The fans were so happy and excited that they threw money onto the field, approximately a total of $ 700.

Peter Gray finished the season batting .381 in 42 games due to injury. The press at that time called him: “The wonder of an arm.”

In his six minor league seasons, Gray hit .333, stole a total of 63 bases and was named the 1944 Southern Association MVP.

The debut in the majors.

In the year 1945 on April 17, Peter Gray made his long-awaited debut in the big tent, playing with the St. Louis Browns of the American League (later Baltimore Orioles) at the age of 30, Gray played in left field. and central. His first hit in the majors was against the Detroit Tigers, that same April 17.

On May 19, he fulfilled his lifelong dream, which was to play in the cathedral of baseball: Yankee Stadium. That day, he finished the game with five hits and two RBIs.

Unfortunately, as the season progressed, many scouts found that Gray, due to his condition, was struggling to hit curveballs and out, and that brought his average down dramatically. The last time he played was on September 30, 1945.

His relationship with his teammates was very good, there was a dislike on their part because they said that Peter was there only to sell tickets and not to get the American League championship.

Statistically, this argument was invalid, as the team had a .600 winning percentage when Pete was on the field, and only .425 when he sat on the bench. That season, they finished third and the next season without Gray they fell to seventh.

Gray in 77 major league games, visited the plate 234 times, scored 26, scored 51 hits, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 13 RBIs, 11 strikeouts, 13 walks and hit 218. He played defense with one arm. 32 times as left forest and 29 as right. He had 3 assists, made 7 mistakes.

This Peter Gray story was an inspiring example for disabled servicemen returning from WWII, Gray himself would visit army hospitals, rehab centers to tell them that they too could lead productive lives.

Gray spent the rest of his life wondering if it was ever good enough to have been there or if it was just an attraction for the owners to make money. This personal struggle was one of the possible reasons that led to his addiction to gambling and alcohol after leaving baseball.

Before his death, however, he regained a sense of integrity about his accomplishments, when they decided to make a film about his life and also a biography. Peter Gray, died on June 30, 2002, at the age of 87.

Sources: 1800 baseball, sports, with the bases loaded.



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