One-Armed Wonder: Pete Gray, Wartime Baseball and the American Dream
By William C. Kashatus
Foreword by Bill Borst
171 pp. Photographs, notes, bibliography, index
ISBN: 0-7864-0094-3 $20.95 soft cover 1995.
In the spring of 1945 Pete Gray, who had lost his right arm in a childhood accident, made his debut with the St. Louis Browns of the American League. Dubbed the “one-armed wonder” by sportswriters, Gray was a controversial figure from the moment he stepped on a major league diamond. Club owners saw him as a gate attraction for war-weary baseball fans; some of his teammates openly questioned his ability and felt that he cost them a chance to capture a second consecutive pennant. Gray was left to wonder just how good a ballplayer he really was.
Though some may have doubted Gray’s ability, no one questioned the cantankerous outfielder’s desire to reach the major leagues. From the coalfields of northeastern Pennsylvania, Pete Gray fought his way through the minor leagues with a single-minded determination. Despite his missing arm, he was the most valuable player of the minor league’s Southern Association in 1944. His on-field exploits and relentless fire became an inspiration to the many servicemen who returned from the battlefields of World War II with missing limbs.
“One-Armed Wonder is the product of Bill Kashatus’s life-long interest in Pete Gray and eight years of meticulous research and writing.” – The Sporting News
“William Kashatus has filled an obvious void with his biography of Pete Gray. He has done it with compassion, concern and an innate respect and admiration for someone who did something heroic at home while others died abroad. He has revived the distant memory of a man who carried his cross in life with courage, determination and a relentless fire in his gut that has only been rivaled in the history of major league baseball by that of Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, and Pete Rose.” – Bill Borst, President, St. Louis Browns’ Historical Society
“Pete Gray never received the respect from the baseball world that his talent deserved. Kashatus’s fine biography has made up for that omission.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
“One-Armed Wonder is much more than just a story; its an inspiration.” – Memphis Commercial Appeal