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The Stratton Story

The Stratton Story(1949)


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During the early 1900s, young Texan Monty Stratton walks ten miles to pitch for the Wagner Wild Cats baseball team, then walks home and works on his farm for the rest of the day. Hobo ex-catcher Barney Wile spots Monty playing his usual flawless game, and convinces him that, with the correct training, he could be major league material. Barney moves in with Monty and trains him throughout the winter, after which he finagles a tryout with Chicago White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes. Although Jimmy is initially reluctant, Monty's amazing speed and accuracy impress him, and he lets the boy stay with the Sox. As Monty tries to learn his way around the big city, he is overjoyed when fellow teammate Eddie Dibson invites him on a double date. Monty realizes Eddie is a cad, however, when he tries to steal Monty's date, the lovely and sophisticated Ethel, and leaves Monty with the whole tab. Monty grabs Ethel and leaves, quickly winning her over with his sincerity and sweetness. The White Sox soon hire Monty, and after sitting on the bench for most of the first season, he is finally allowed to pitch, but only against the powerhouse Yankees. The rookie gets beaten so badly that he is sent back to the White Sox training ground in Omaha. There, he calls Ethel to tells her that he loves her, but wants a chance to prove himself professionally before marrying. After great success in Omaha, Monty is asked to join the majors again, at which point he and Ethel marry. Forhis first outing, he is asked to pitch against the Yankees again, but this time he masters his fear and wins the game. When the season ends, he brings Ethel to his family farm to meet his mother and stay for the winter. The next spring, he wins every game he plays, and, during one game, learns while on the mound that Ethel has given birth to a boy, Monty, Jr. Within months, he is part of the All-Stars team and breaking league records, but Ethel worries that he is spending too much time out of the house. Soon, however, he takes her to a nightclub and reveals that he has spent his extra time learning how to dance in order to please her, and they dance all night. Months later, Monty is hunting rabbits when he stumbles and his gun discharges into his leg. Ethel finds him, but not soon enough to rescue his infected leg, which has to be amputated. After the operation, Monty feels useless and despondent and refuses to try to recover. For months he sits, motionless and bitter, as Ethel waits patiently for him to re-gather his resolve. Finally, however, Monty witnesses Junior taking his first steps, and realizes that he has been indulging in self-pity. As he apologizes for his frustration, Ethel assures him that he is the same person inside. Soon, Monty decides to learn to walk on his false leg, and within months he is tossing a baseball with Ethel, who reveals that she is expecting another baby. When Barney visits that spring, they all attend the All-Stars game, and are shocked to discover that Monty has convinced the coach to let him pitch. Although he is frightened and has trouble running and catching bunts, he overcomes all obstacles and wins the game for the Southern League. Money then goes on to play, and win, many games during the rest of his career.