photo from White Sox Cards: Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton pitched for the White Sox from 1934-1938 before he had a hunting accident
Real True Grit – He Pitched with One Leg
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi Gonzalez
I have seen the regular most well known baseball movies, the ones most people that do not even follow or like baseball have seen occasionally, like Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out, The Pride of the Yankees, The Sandlot, The Natural, Major League, The Rookie, Moneyball and others.
Also some not that well known and one rather obscure. It is in black and white, titled The Stratton Story (1949) Inspired by his wife Ethel (June Allyson) and son White Soxer Monty Stratton (Jimmy Stewart) pitches with a wooden leg. Also making appearances on The Stratton Story, were, major league players Bill Dickey, Jimmy Dykes and Merv Shea.
The Stratton Story is not a Hollywood fictitious story but a true one. Well personified by June Allyson and Jimmy Stewart, who had previously worked in a very nice also historical movie “The Glenn Miller Story “depicting the life of the great bandleader and his service during WWII until his plane disappeared in 1944.
Marty (Gander) Stratton major league career ended prematurely during a hunting accident in 1938, he fell, and his gun discharged accidentally and damaged his right leg, which was later amputated. In 1939 the Chicago White Sox sponsored a charity in a game against the local rival Chicago Cubs at Comiskey Park. $28,000, (today around $500,000) went to Stratton. In that game he took the mound and demonstrated he could still pitch with a wooden leg. Not easy, during his wind-up he had to learn how to transfer his weight to his artificial leg. He practiced in his barn on a farm he owned pitching to his wife Ethel. Stratton. Later attempted to enlist to serve in WWII when the war began, but was rejected.
A big Texas-born man, Marty Stratton was 6’5” 185 pounds. In 1946 ended with an 18-8 record and a 4.18 earned run average, with the Sherman Twins of the East Texas League, Class C. In his career, he pitched with the Chicago White Sox from 1934 to 1938 won 36 games and lost 23 with a 3.71 ERA, started 62 games and 196 strikeouts.
His story has been depicted briefly in other movies, like Woody Allen’s “Radio Days” (1987) one of my old time favorite movies, not only because I am a huge fan of Woody’s movies and have seem them all, but because it is a film that captures the radio days in all its glory and splendor.
During these days of grievance between players and owners, when billions and millions of dollars are at stake and with the season on the line and with so many problems in this country, which I think we will overcome because we are that strong, it was good to see a movie of an obscure major league pitcher, that loved the game, had a very good career considering at the time he pitched during a World War plus a serious accident that shortened his career.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com