23 Oct

a long, long time ago

As Chicago Cubs fans eagerly look forward to the club’s first World Series appearance in 71 years, let’s take a quick look back at that 1945 Series, the last of the four played during World War II. Yes, the Cubs lost in seven games to Detroit, but don’t fault the efforts of Claude Passeau, the big right-hander from Waynesboro. Passeau, who won 162 games and made five All-Star teams, might never have been better than he was in Game 3 of that Series, throwing a one-hitter in a 3-0 victory that put the Cubs up 2 games to 1. The only hit was a second-inning single by Rudy York. Meridian native Skeeter Webb, the Tigers’ leadoff batter, took an 0-for-3, as did Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Passeau walked only one and struck out only one – and even drove in a run. “I felt so good I began to tease the Detroit hitters,” Passeau, known for his fidgeting on the mound, told The Sporting News after that game. Passeau also started Game 6, with the Cubs down 3-2 in the series, and he worked into the seventh inning, departing with the lead. The Cubs’ bullpen let it get away, but Chicago rallied to win 8-7 in 12 innings. Passeau also pitched in Game 7, two days later, and yielded two runs in the eighth inning of a game that was already out of hand. The Tigers won 9-3. Surely, some Cubs fans at Wrigley Field that day – and maybe even Claude Passeau himself — shrugged and said, “We’ll get ’em next time.” Well, 71 years later, next time is here. P.S. The Cleveland Indians also lost the last time they were in the Series. In 1997, former Mississippi State star Jay Powell from Meridian got the win in Game 7 for the Florida Marlins. Powell worked a scoreless top of the 11th and then celebrated a championship when Edgar Renteria knocked in the game-winner in the bottom half.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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