Jimmy Stewart did not have a single leg, and he could not throw a big-league fastball. Despite this, he makes a fairly convincing portrayal of a real-life right-hander in “The Stratton Story.”
Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton is an affable long drink of water with an easy, whiplike delivery and a pitch so unhittable the young phenom racks up consecutive 15-win seasons. But Stratton's greatest victory doesn't come on the manicured green diamonds of our national pastime. James Stewart portrays Stratton, who loses a leg in an accident just as his career is on the rise...and whose triumph over despair and disability leads him to pitch again. Stewart signed on for the role when he realized the film would be an inspiration to injured World War II GIs. The film still inspires. Awarded an Oscar?* for Best Motion Picture Story, directed by Sam Wood (The Pride of the Yankees) and supported by a top cast that includes real-life ballplayers, The Stratton Story is sports biography at its best.
Only occasionally playing fast and loose with the facts (the time-frame of Stratton's real-life return to baseball is telescoped by several years), The Stratton Story was one of the best and most profitable baseball pictures ever turned out by Hollywood. Fans of the game will get an extra kick from the presence in the cast of big-leaguers Bill Dickey and Jimmy Dykes.