1945 World Series Edition
- To save money on travel during WWII, the first three games of the series were played in Detroit and the last four were played in Chicago.
- The Tigers hit 2 home runs during the series; Hank Greenberg hit both of them. Phil Cavaretta hit the Cubs only homer in the 7 games.
- Detroit pitcher Virgil Trucks was released from the Navy just weeks before the end of the 1945 season. He threw just 5.1 innings in the regular season before starting Game 2 of the WS, a complete game 4-1 victory.
- The 1945 World Series was played as a back-drop to the ending of WWII. I haven’t seen every war movie made about WWII, but here is my top 8 in no particular order.
The Longest Day
The Great Escape
Saving Private Ryan
The Dirty Dozen
Bonus: The 1945 WS was a 10-year anniversary/rematch of the 1935 WS that saw the Tigers beat the Cubs 4 games to 2. Four players played in both series. Hank Greenberg and Tommy Bridges for the Tigers; Phil Cavaretta and Stan Hack for the Cubs.
This past week I saw the highlight recap show of the 1945 World Series on the MLB Network. For those that don’t remember or didn’t know, 1945 was the last year in which the Cubs played in the World Series. Ummm, that’s a long time. Let’s put it this way; every other team in the majors has been to the World Series at least once since 1979 except the Seattle Mariners (established in 1977) and the Washington Nationals/Expos (established 1969), both of whom have yet to make to the final game of the season.
The Cubs played the American League Champion Detroit Tigers in 1945, it was their 5th World Series in 16 years and a rematch of the 1935 series that saw the Tigers beat the Cubs 4 games to 2.
I don’t want to go through all the details of the ’45 series, but there are a few things that I wanted to mention.
First of all of course is the fact that the favorite Cubs (98-56) lost the series to the Tigers (88-65) despite having the home field advantage. It was the Cubs seventh straight loss in the series as they had previously lost in 1910, ’18, ’29, ’32, ’35 and ’38.
The Championship itself went 7 games. The Cubs won games 1, 3 and 6; while the Tigers won games 2, 4, 5 and 7.
The different thing about this series was the schedule. Yes, the Cubs had home field advantage, but baseball was using their wartime scheduling. Games 1, 2, and 3 were played in Detroit while Chicago hosted the remaining 4 games.
Baseball went to the 2-3-2 schedule it still uses today in 1924, however, in 1943 it was determined that a 3-4 schedule should be used to save on travel and expenses during the war. That first year the St Louis Cardinals (105-49) had home field advantage over the NY Yankees (98-56). But in order to get the advantage of playing 4 games at home including a possible game 7, the Cards had to play the first 3 games in Yankee Stadium in New York. The Bombers won two of three and then went to St Louis and won the series in five after winning games 4&5.
In 1944 the schedule remained the same, 3-4. But this time no travel was required because the series pit the NL Champion St Louis Cardinals against the AL Champion St Louis Browns. In fact, there wasn’t even a change in venue. Both teams shared Sportsman Park III from 1921 through 1952. The only thing that changed was the designation of which team was the visitor and which team was home.
Which again brings us to 1945. Detroit hosted games 1 through 3 and things were looking good for the Cubs as they were able to take 2 of the 3 games before heading back to Chicago. Unfortunately, Detroit was able to win three games in Wrigley Field, including of course game 7, and they took the series 4 games to 3.
1945 was the last season that baseball used the 3-4 wartime format because thankfully WWII had ended late in the summer of ’45.
Obviously, I can’t mention the 1945 World Series without also referencing the Curse of the Billy Goat. Before game 4, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis who had brought his goat to the game was denied admission by Cubs officials. The legend/reality has been blurred a little over time, but basically Sianis declared that the Cubs would never win a World Series again……………………………..and they haven’t.
This is a Part I piece. I’m working on a project that involves the 1945 World Series and you can expect to see a few more post about the series as well as a related subject that I hope will be far more interesting but that I don’t want to divulge just yet, mainly because I don’t know how well it will work out.