The Last Time:
Cubs In World Series, 1945; Indians Were World Champions, 1948
Cubs May Have Had Sluggers, But They Still Lost to Tigers in ’45; Indians Prevailed Over Braves in ’48
The news photograph above was captioned “1945 Cubs Sluggers.” That may be a bit of a misnomer as Harry “Peanuts” Lowery hit seven home runs in 143 games, the most he ever hit in his 13 year career.
Frank Secory hit no homers in 35 games. Bill “Swish” Nicholson, the only true slugger in this photograph led the National League in homers in 1943 and 1944 with 29 and 33 home runs respectively. In 1945 Nicholson led the Cubs with a mere 13 home runs in 151 games. Andy Pafko hit 12 home runs and drove in 110 runs in 144 games. And Ed Sauer had two homers in 49 games.
As a team the 1945 Cubs hit only 57 home runs. On the other hand their pitchers allowed only 57 home runs.
In the closely contested World Series, none of the “Cubs sluggers” hit a home run. National League MVP Phil Caverretta hit the only homer and led the Cubs with a .423 batting average.
Before game 4 of the World Series began, this photo was taken. The caption reads:
One Is Their Symbol
Chicago, IL: “Youse guys got only one hit,” says Claude Passeau, star Cub pitcher as he raises one finger, Oh; yeah, says Rudy York, “Well I’m the guy that got that O N E” and he raises his finger. This picture made at Wrigley Field today as the Cubs and Tigers went into the fourth game of the World Series. Passeau of Cubs, left, York of Tiger, right 10/6/ 45 credit: International News Photos
In game three of the 1945 World Series Claude Passeau pitched one of the greatest games in World Series history, a complete game one-hitter where he faced only 28 batters. As the photo above reiterates, Rudy York got the lone Tigers hit, a second inning single to left. After Passeau walked Bob Swift to lead off the sixth, pinch runner Red Borom came in for Swift and pinch hitter Hub Walker grounded into a double play. No other Tiger reached base despite the fact that Detroit kept putting the ball in play. Incredibly, Passeau struck out only one batter.
In game four the Tigers evened the series up with a 4-1 victory.
The Cubs of course ended up losing to the Detroit Tigers in seven games marking their final World Series appearance until 2016.
71 years later before game four of the 2016 World Series the situation is reversed with the Indians holding a 2-1 advantage. The current crop of Cubs sluggers have not yet hit a home run and have been shut out twice.
Torgeson Stealing Second
Boston, MA – There was some fast action in the fourth inning of today’s World Series opener as Earl Torgeson of the Braves scraped up a cloud of dust as he safely stole second base. Cleveland’s Lou Boudreau took Hegan’s throw too late as umpire Stewart called the play. With a break in the scoreless game coming in the eighth inning, the Braves took the opener 1-0. 10/6/48 photo: Tony Bernato for International News
In 1948, the last time the Cleveland Indians won the World Series, the Boston Braves gave the Tribe quite a battle. Four of the six games were decided by one run.
The opener was a pitching duel where Bob Feller ended up the hard luck loser despite giving up just two hits to the Braves. Boston ace Johnny Sain allowed just four hits in shutting out the Indians 1-0.
Cleveland then won four of the next five games, with Bob Lemon picking up two Cleveland victories.