Friday, May 15, 2009

Some of the Strangest Characters in Baseball in 1944-45

Some of the strangest characters in baseball history emerged during the war. In 1944, the Cincinnati Reds sent 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall to the mound to pitch. He was the youngest player in Major League history and played like it as well. Not lasting even an inning, he gave up five earned runs and faced only nine batters.

Eight years later, he would re-emerge as a very good pitcher and play until 1966.
Probably the most storied case of a has-been or never-should-have-been making it to the majors was that of Pete Gray. Pete was right-handed until he lost his right arm, at age 6, when he slipped while riding on a farmer’s wagon and his right arm was caught in the spokes. The arm had to be amputated above the elbow.

Gray played in the Majors for only one season with the St. Louis Browns, but racked up 51 hits in 234 at-bats. He hit two triples and carried a batting average of .218. Interestingly, he only struck out 11 times all season. In 61 games in the field, he only allowed seven errors.


  1. Pete Gray played two times in my home town of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. The first time was 1935 or 1936 and the second time was 1940. He was very popular among the baseball fans of the town. As our baseball stadium was built in 1939, Gray became the first hero of the place.

  2. Robert Wayne19/4/11 3:54 PM

    Makes me wonder what would have happened if that accident had never happened and Pete Gray had had the use of both arms. Would he have been one of baseball's best hitters of all time? Because he certainly hit with one arm better than most of us could with two.