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One-Armed Wonder: Pete Gray, Wartime Baseball, and the American Dream Paperback – March 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 171 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland; First Edition edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786400943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786400942
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,816,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"a fine biography" -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"much more than just a story of one man's courage and determination" --The Commercial Appeal

About the Author

William C. Kashatus is a professional historian at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He is also a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. A regular contributor to the Philadelphia Daily News, he is also the author of Diamonds in the Coalfields (2002), Mike Schmidt (2000) and Connie Mack's '29 Triumph (1999).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Coach T on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is well-written. It is the life story of Major League Baseball's one-armed outfielder, Pete Gray. Gray grew up in the Hanover section of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania in the coal belt. He lost his right arm as a youngster, yet still played one year in the Major League for the St. Louis Browns. Grey was MVP of class AAA Memphis, stealing 68 bases and batting over .300. Here's the neat part: I visited Pete Gray this week (8-5-99), who is 84 years old, in a nursing home in Sheatown (near Nanticoke, PA). He signed my book and we spoke for about 30 minutes. He is still very sharp and friendly. The book reflects life in the coal towns. Gray (who's real last name is Wyshner, which is listed on his nursing home room) told me he never worked, making his income only from baseball. He said his most memorable moment was going 8 for 8 in a doubleheader, then getting pinch hit for in his 9th at-bat! A great book for history buffs. Vince Trivelpiece 8-7-99
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jack kennedy on March 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
"~As a veteran of the conflict from which Mr. Gray was excluded by circumstance, I fondly recall his exploits and reading about them in the Pacific Theatre. I consider him no less a hero than I. He too served.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Juan Domingo Peron on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Brilliant overview of not only the man, rather a well balanced portrayal of his struggles, victories and defeats. A fine overview of the culture in which he was nurtured, (and ultimately retired into), helps set the tone for this fine biography.
Having met Mr. Gray, I believe in this books authenticity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on August 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
When Pete Gray reached the St. Louis Browns in 1945, the team was coming off the only pennant-winning season in its history. This fine biography by veteran baseball historian William C. Kashatus relates the story of Gray before, during, and after his stint with the Browns. Sportswriters dubbed Gray the "one-armed wonder." Born Peter J. Wyshner in the grimy coal-mining town of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, Gray at age six lost his right arm in a farming accident. He showed remarkable perseverance, however, and pursued sports with a zeal born of adversity. He overcame his handicap to play semi-pro and later professional ball. In 1943 and 1944 he stared for the Class A Southern Association's Memphis Chicks. In 1944 he hit .333, drove in sixty runs, stole sixty-three bases, led the league in fielding percentage, and was voted the Southern Association's most valuable player. While his handicap certainly raised questions about his ability to play in the major league, his 1944 performance earned him a serious look and the Browns acquired his contract for $20,000. Manager Luke Sewell viewed Gray as a sparkplug whose bat and speed would stimulate the Browns' pitiful offense. His strong fielding could only help in the outfield. The Browns' owner believed the one-armed outfielder would also be a gate attraction, especially for thousands of soldiers returning from World War II with handicaps just as significant as Gray's.

For his part, Gray understood that he was something of a token acquisition for the team, but he believed he could help the perennial American League doormat. And Gray had some spectacular moments, as Kashatus relates. He beat the Tigers all by himself during their first meeting of the season.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hauptmann Johan Heinrich Von Neu York on March 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a boy growing up in the West German State of Hess, I came to admire the great national soccor league players of my time. Since coming to the States, I have learned something of The Great American Past time. While initially dubious of the tradition in this country of professional athletisism I, none the less felt proud to meet Mr. Pete Gray while travelling on extended vacation through the Pennsylvania Anthracite region, (my family owned and operated mines along the Ruhr prior to the war).
Having overcome the obstacles inherent to anyone, of working with the deficiency of one limb, (most particuarly an athlete), Mr. Grays grim determation served as an inspiration to his generation.
While sad that he is little remembered outside his own home town, Kashatus' book brings to us quite vividly his life and times.
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