Saturday, April 28, 2018

Farquhar tale brings Stratton Story to mind; will Danny have cinema-worthy comeback for Chicago White Sox?

What is destined to be the place that Danny Farquhar will hold in the history of the Chicago White Sox, and in baseball?

Farquhar recovering from aneurysm
Is the 31-year-old pitcher finished as a professional ballplayer? Or can he recover to someday take to the pitcher’s mound and play in a major league ballgame?

IF THAT WERE to happen, Farquhar could well turn out to be the 21st Century take on Monty Stratton.

He was the one-time White Sox pitcher of the 1930s who managed to make an American League all-star team in 1937 and had Sox fans of that era convinced he was the big arm who would someday lead the team to victory (it actually took another couple of decades before the Sox became the “Go Go” guys who won that ’59 pennant).

But while Farquhar is the guy who a week ago suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while pitching against the Houston Astros (collapsing while standing in the dugout), Stratton was the guy who suffered a hunting accident off-season.

He was shot in the foot, and it wound up having to be amputated.

The cinematic take on Stratton ...
BUT THE REASON why actor James Stewart (sort of the Tom Hanks of his era) felt compelled to play the part of Stratton in the 1949 film “The Stratton Story” is because ol’ Monty managed to teach himself how to pitch again – even though he had to use a prosthetic leg in order to move about.

To the point where he actually returned to the ranks of professional baseball, pitching for minor league ball clubs in Texas and managing to accumulate a record of 17 wins, 7 losses and a 4.17 earned run average in 1946.

Now I’m not saying that Farquhar and his story is destined to be the tale of a major motion picture with a Big Name star of immense sex appeal playing the part of his supportive wife, Alexandria (whom I understand was his high school sweetheart) similar to June Allyson playing the part of Ethel Stratton.

... and the real-life Monty
But when one considers that the aneurysm is a condition that could have killed Farquhar (he’d be the ballplayer who dropped dead in mid-game – although in not-as-dramatic a manner as the 1920 incident in which Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians died after being hit in the head by a pitch from Carl Mays of the New York Yankees – the fact that Danny remains amongst us is an achievement.

ON FRIDAY, FARQUHAR was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times to have actually taken “light walks” around the intensive care unit of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

Not bad for a ballplayer who already had undergone two rounds of surgery for his condition during the past week and who, according to the hospital, remains in critical (but stable) condition.

It could well wind up that White Sox fans spend the 2018 season following the recovery of Farquhar, waiting for tidbits to let us know he still has a full life ahead of him with wife Alexandria and their three children.

Maybe he’ll even be able to return someday to baseball and give us a moment similar to that of The Stratton Story where Monty manages to finish out his time in the game on his own terms.

UNLESS YOU REALLY get that excited about determining how the 7-16 White Sox will evolve by 2020 into a pennant-contending team. Or, if you’re a Cubs fan, spewing a lot of trash talk about how it ain’t a gonna happen!

Danny presence remains in Sox bullpen 
And perhaps we can ponder how effective a role Farquhar would have/will play in a future White Sox championship team – a thought that may well be one that keeps Danny going forth these days.

Just as how I’m sure the fact that Stratton (whose bottom line stats include 36 wins and a 3,71 earned run average during five seasons with the White Sox) was able to return to baseball at some level was what kept him thriving in life, which lasted through 1982 at age 70.

Even though, I’m sure, for many fans “Monty Stratton” is just the name of a character from the James Stewart film that they occasionally see if they happen to stumble across a cable television channel specializing in old cinema.


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