Movie Details

Made for television, A Winner Never Quits is the true story of one-armed baseball player Pete Gray. Having lost his arm in a childhood accident, Pete (played by Steve Rees as a child, Keith Carradine as an adult) still insists upon pursuing an athletic career in emulation of his older brother Whitey (Ed O'Neill). When Whitey suffers permanent brain damage in a boxing match, Pete takes up the cudgel and enters the world of professional sports. Hired in 1943 as a "freak attraction" and wartime morale-booster by the Memphis Chicks, Class-A minor league ball club, Gray attains a batting average of .333 and a stolen-base record of 63; as a result, he is appointed his league's MVP. Though a success, Pete maintains a tough, defensive veneer, which is softened only by the love of his wife Annie (Mare Winningham) and the adulation of baseball fan Nelson Gary Jr. (Huckleberry Fox), who has also lost an arm (and who would, in real life, become a top minor-league ballplayer himself). With the war depleting big-league baseball's manpower in 1945, Pete Gray finally achieves his goal of entering the Majors when he is hired by the St. Louis Browns. Dennis Weaver and Fionnulla Flanagan costar as Pete's immigrant parents. Burt Prelutsky's screenplay wisely avoids pathos and sentiment throughout; though humanized by his relationships with friends and family, Pete Gray is accurately portrayed as a brusque, temperamental soul, who neither asks for nor tolerates sympathy from anyone. A Winner Never Quits first aired in April of 1986. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi