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Experience the Challenge of Being Pete Gray
What to Know
Teaching Time
1 hour
Grade Level
Middle School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Health and Physical Education
  • History
Historical Period
  • The Great Depression and World War II - 1929-1945
  • Post-WWII Pennsylvania - 1946-1974
  • Contemporary Pennsylvania - 1975 to Present
In 1945 Pete Gray played in 77 games for the St. Louis Browns. He collected 51 hits, 8 for extra bases, and compiled a .218 batting average. As an outfielder, he made 162 put-outs, 3 assists, and 7 errors for a .959 fielding average. These statistics are not that impressive. What they don't tell us, though, is that Gray was the first one-armed man ever to play major league baseball. Students will learn about Pete Gray's achievement and the challenges of being a person with a physical disability by viewing films, photographs, and an empathy-building exercise. Through primary source quotations students will view multiple perspectives of Pete Gray's career: from the adversity Gray faced on his own team and to the celebration of his achievement today. Finally, the class will read excerpts of an interview of Pete Gray revealing his own perspective of his achievements. Students will synthesize the multiple perspectives they have been given, choose a quote that they believe best represents Pete Gray's career, and write a 200-word essay explaining their choice.


Students will: 1. Appreciate Pete Gray's achievement as the first one-armed man to play major league baseball. 2. Identify the differences between the way our society viewed Pete Gray the half a century ago and today. 3. Analyze historical and contemporary data. 4. Develop critical thinking skills through written and oral exercises.

Standards Alignment

  • Health, Safety and Physical Education

    10.5.6. A. Explain and apply the basic movement skills and concepts to create and perform movement sequences and advance skills.

  • History

    8.2.6. A. Identifies political and cultural contributions of individuals to Pennsylvania history
    8.2.6. C. Identify how continuity and change have influenced settlement patterns (e.g. Development of towns)
    8.3.6. A. Identify and explain the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from Beginnings to 1824
    8.3.6. C. Explain how continuity and change has influenced United States history.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.8.G. Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text, including public documents.
    1.5.8. A. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.
    1.5.8. C. Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.
    1.5.8. D. Write with an understanding of the stylistic aspects of composition.
    1.5.8. F. Edit writing using the conventions of language.
    1.5.8.B. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.

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