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The Stratton Story

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Today in White Sox History: November 27

Good deals, bad deals — and a freak, career-ending injury.

On this day, Monty Stratton accidentally shot himself in the leg, ending his career; James Stewart played him in Hollywood, 11 years later.
| Hulton Archive/Getty Images


White Sox star pitcher Monty Stratton, an American League All-Star in 1937 and one of the best young players in the game, accidentally shot himself in the leg when his .32 caliber pistol discharged when he was replacing it in his holster. Stratton had been out hunting. Unable to get help, he crawled a half-mile to a road leading into Greenville, Texas. The bullet pierced a femoral artery, which stopped circulation to the limb, and it had to be amputated. His four-year career ended. He eventually came back to play in a few minor league games using a wooden leg.

In 1948 Hollywood made The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson and Stratton’s manager with the White Sox, Jimmy Dykes.


Another one of GM Frank Lane’s great deals came when Lane sent five players to the St. Louis Browns for three players, including catcher Sherm Lollar. Lollar would become a three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove-winner.

One of the players sent to St. Louis in the trade, outfielder “Jungle” Jim Rivera, was reacquired by the White Sox the next July. Both players would remain with the club through the early 1960s.


In a bizarre coincidence both Minnie Miñoso and Joe Cunningham were at the same sports banquet in Joliet when word came that the White Sox and Cardinals had made a trade — and the deal was Miñoso for Cunningham!

Cunningham became perhaps the finest fielding first baseman in franchise history, ranking right up there with Joe Kuhel and Tony Muser. In 1962, Joe would reach base 268 times and lead the Sox in walks, runs, sacrifice flies and bunts. He hit .295 and drove in 70 runs.

In July 1964 Cunningham was sent to the Senators as part of a deal bringing Bill “Moose” Skowron to the Sox.


It was a move criticized at the time, as White Sox GM Roland Hemond sent outfielder Chet Lemon to the Tigers for outfielder Steve Kemp.

The swap of All-Stars left Sox fans shaking their heads, because Kemp would become a free agent after the upcoming season. He’d eventually sign a big-money contract with the Yankees after knocking in 98 runs for the Sox.

However, what wasn’t known at the time was that the Sox weren’t going to re-sign Lemon, either, after he refused to sign a contract extension that was agreed to in principal because the Sox then went out and signed Carlton Fisk for more money than they had agreed to give Lemon.

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