The 1945 Chicago Cubs
Phil Cavaretta takes the batting title and Most VAluable Player honors in the National League.
Stan Hack finishes 4th in the batting race hitting .324 and 3rd in the National League in hits with 192.
Andy Pafko drives in 110 runs with 12 HR's and a .298 batting average.
Hank Wyse leads the pitching staff with 22 wins against just 10 losses. His ERA is 2.68
Claude Passeua, Paul Derringer, Ray Prim and Hank Borowy fill in a dominanting pitching staff for the 1945 Chicago Cubs. All 5 starters had an ERA below 3.00 with the exception of Derringer who has a respectable 3.45 for the year and 16 wins.
The late season pick-up
The Cubs purchased Hank Bowry from the Yankees on July 26 of the 1945 season from the Yankees. I had to laugh when I was reading about how Yankees owner, Larry McPhail was upset calling Bowry a 7 inning pitcher. Back in 1945, pitchers were expected to complete games (for example, Cubs pitchers completed 86 of their 154 regular season game). My how things have changed, 7 inning pitchers are worth at least $10 million dollars a year in 2010. Bowry was a great acquisition for the Cubs, winning 11 of 13 decisions and having an ERA of 2.13.
The St Louis Cardinals were the Cubs primary contender for the National League pennant and were led by hitters, Whitey Kurowski and Buster Adams. Like the Cubs, the Cardinals had a great pitching staff led by Red Barrett and Ken Burkhart.
The 1945 Asterisk
Another sign of how the times have changed, the United States was involved in World War II in 1945 and this certainly had an impact on the season. Both the Cardinals and Cubs were missing players in 1945 that were supporting the war effort. Let's face facts and understand that the impact to the Cardinals was greater considering that top stars and eventual Hall of Famer's, Stan Musial and Enos "Country" Slaughter did not play with the team in 1945.
The 1945 World Series
The Cubs take the Series lead with a 9-0 victory over the Tigers in Detroit. Hank Bowry pitches a six hit shutout.
The Tigers record a 4-1 victory in Detroit as Virgil Trucks returns from the Navy to help his team even the Series at 1-1.
Claude Passeau throws a one-hit shutout to lead the Cubs to a 2-1 Series lead. The Series moves to Wrigley Field for game 4 so things look good for the Cubs at this point.
The home field advantage does not help the Cubs as the Tigers even the Series 2-2 with a 4-1 victory, but the game on the field is not the most memorable thing about this game.
The Curse of the Billy Goat
A local restaurant owner named William Sianis decides to buy two tickets to the game hoping that he can enter the game with his pet goat. He is refused admission if he doesn't leave the goat outside and the story goes he at he sends a message to Owner, PK Wrigley, after the Cubs lose the World Series with the comment "Who Smells Now". The story goes that Sianis put a hex on the Cubs that would not play in the World Series again and the Curse of the Goat is born!! Is it a Cubs fan job requirement to be superstitious? The cubs have not returned to the World Series since!!
The Tigers defeat the Cubs again for the second straight day at Wrigley 8-4. Tigers lead the Series 3 games to 2.
An unlikely hero for the Cubs, Frank Secroy, keeps the Cubs World Series championship dream alive with a single in the 12th inning to begin a rally that Stan Hack completed with a double to drive in the winning run for an 8-7 victory. The Series tied at 3-3. The final decisive 7th game to be played in Wrigley Field.
Charlie Grimm takes a chance on bringing Hank Bowry back after he pitched 4 innings in relief in Game 6 two days before the 7th game. Bowry does not pitch well and the tigers win the 1945 World Series 4 games to 3.
The Myth Sometimes it bothers me as a Cubs fan to hear that the Cubs haven't been to the World Series in over one hundred years. The 1945 loss is actually the 7th straight time the Cubs lost the World Series since their back to back championships in 1907 and 1908. I guess the saying "no one remembers who finishes second" is very true. The Cubs had some very successful teams from 1908 to 1945, but couldn't quite make it all the way there. For the record, the Cubs lost the World Series in the following years from 1908 to 1945:
1910 Lost WS 4 games to 1 to Philadelphia Athletics
1918 Lost WS 4 games to 2 to Boston Red Sox (Babe Ruth defeats Cubs as a pitcher)
1929 Lost WS 4 games to 1 to Philadelphia Athletics
1932 Lost WS 4 games to 0 to New York Yankees (Babe ruth's famous Called Shot)
1935 Lost WS 4 games to 2 to Detroit Tigers
1938 Lost WS 4 games to 0 to New York Yankees