One of Jim Abbott’s biggest inspirations was a man named Pete Gray. Pete Gray was very similar to Jim. Although Pete didn’t suffer with birth defects as an infant, he did suffer with a terrible incident with his right arm as a child resulting in amputation. He had been riding in a truck when it suddenly had to stop, causing him to fall off and have his right arm caught in the spokes of the wheel. This was the start of change in Pete’s life. His parents never usually spoke of the fact of his missing arm and treated him just like any other kid. They did this so he would learn to be independent, which is very similar to what Jim Abbott’s parents did with him. “I didn’t want to be that kid. I didn’t want to be different. I didn’t want to be pretty good, you know, considering. I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, or treating me special, or looking past me” (Abbott 64). This quote describes how both of the way these men’s parents treated them as children rubbed off on their personal lives.
Pete Gray was very determined as a kid to grow up and be a professional baseball player. He worked very hard, which is how he achieved his goal. “I’d catch the ball in my glove and stick it under the stub of my right arm. Then I’d squeeze the ball out of my glove with my arm and it would roll across my chest and drop to my stomach. The ball would drop right into my hand and my small, crooked finger prevented it from bouncing away” (Pete Gray: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/be38eb9a). Pete Gray never gave up and although his MLB career only lasted for one season, he still became an inspiration on many children whom share similar disabilities. One of them being Jim Abbott.