CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs had only gone 37 years without a championship when they reached the World Series in 1945.
It was their 10th National League pennant, and the Cubs hardly seemed like a franchise that would take more than seven decades to get back.
They pushed the Detroit Tigers to a deciding Game 7, but lost 9-3 on Oct. 10, 1945. Here's a report by The Associated Press from that day, which turned out to be the last time the World Series was played at Wrigley Field until Chicago hosts the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 on Friday night.
By SID FEDER
Associated Press Sports Writer
CHICAGO, Oct. 11 -- Baseball's take-off on the nine old men - eight old men and a boy, in this case - brought the world championship back to Detroit today for the first time in ten years, all because the Chicago Cubs ran out of "gas" and pitchers against the Tiger triggermen in the clutch.
That, plus some of the fanciest flinging of this fall frolic by Lefty Hal Newhouser, for a new series strikeout record for seven games, meant the ball game and the set in the finale yesterday. Prince Hal was the boy in the case - he is 24 - and the boy turned out to be quite a man as he racked up his second win of the scramble.
That was the story in yesterday's 9-to-3 payoff. Jolly Cholly Grimm was so desperate for pitchers, after using most of them Sunday and Monday, he finally had to reach into the barrel and come up with heaving Hank Borowy for his third consecutive game.
Good as Hank was in this series - he won twice and lost twice - the Tigers got to him early. They drove him from the hill after nine pitches which three Tigers converted into single and one run. Five other Cub pitchers followed him to the mound. That's the way the doddering Detroiters were. They ran, mostly as if they were dragging their anchors, but their bats were loaded with explosives.
The Tigers' hitting power when it was needed, and tight pitching in the pinches, was what made the Cubs lose their seventh series opportunity in 37 years after beating the Tigers in 1907-08. The Tigers - all the regulars except the pitchers are over 30 - put on some great exhibitions of daffiness out there in the field from time to time. But when the final chips were down they picked them up with alacrity.
It wasn't only one of them, although Hank Greenberg was in the forefront. The big guy is a slowed-up 35 now but he was the glamour boy of the series in anybody's book. He hammered one homer that won a game, another that kept his ball club in it; thumped three doubles in one tilt; scored seven runs and knocked in seven. He wound up with a .304 batting mark, which, with his 1934 and 1940 flailing, made him one of 13 men in all series history to go for .300 or better in three or more series.
Phil Cavarretta, the Cubs first-sacker and probably the most underrated man in the set, went Hank one better in this department. He was the No. 1 ball-buster and came to the wire with a .423 mark, the second time he's run through a series at a snappy .400 or better.
Aside from Greenberg's fireworks, it might be anybody in the Tiger lineup to knock the roof in at any moment. Yesterday, tall Paul Richards, the 37-year-old catcher, pounded out a pair of two-baggers to zip four runs across. The first of these whacks was a base-cleaner for three tallies in the first inning, in which the Tigers, after clubbing Borowy to the showers, continued to have fun against Paul Derringer until they'd chalked up five markers.
As far as the outcome was concerned, the game might just as well have ended there. Newhouser was hot in the clutches. He was never in real trouble and finished up fanning ten Cubs to run his total for the series up to 22.
Or besides Richards and Greenberg, it might have been Doc Cramer, the 40-year-old "youngster", who was just about the entire Detroit outfield. He chipped in with three safe blows yesterday to end up with 11 for the series, tying Cavarretta and Third Baseman Stan Hack of the Cubs, in collecting hits.
In the field it was strictly no contest. The Cub flychasing trio of Handy Andy Pafko, who's now ranked as the National League's best center fielder - possibly the best in baseball pending one Joe Di Maggio's return - Peanuts Lowrey and Bill Nicholson made the Bengal gardners look slow in contrast.
The Bengals relied almost entirely on their clouting skill, with an occasional classy curving job, like Newhouser's yesterday and Dizzy Trout's five-hitter last Saturday. Of course, the top throwing stunt of the set was the all-time one-hit, one-walk masterpiece Claude Passeau came up with in the third game.
Probably all the silliness of the series could be wrapped up in two of the records. The Cubs scored 29 runs. No other club ever counted so many, and still lost. Newhouser was slightly touched for 14 earned runs. No other elbower ever gave up that many and still won. That's the kind of a clambake it was.