According to Rich Lindberg’s definitive book on White Sox history, “Who’s On Third?”, Stratton’s .32 callibre automatic pistol discharged as he put it back into his holster after shooting a rabbit. The bullet pierced a femoral artery, which cut off the leg’s circulation.
The 26-year-old Stratton crawled a half-mile where he called his wife, Ethel. The leg could not be saved and – despite what Lindeberg called some “heroic attempts to come back” – Stratton’s career was over.
The accident and subsequent comeback, which included a May 1, 1939 benefit game at Comiskey Park which attracted 25,594, was made into a movie.
“The Stratton Story” starred Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson and former Sox manager Jimmy Dykes and was released in 1949.