Heartbreak & the Chicago Cubs

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Introduction

The Chicago Cubs are known as the "loveable losers" and have been for many years. They have not won a World Series since 1908. Their last appearance in a World Series was in 1945. For those of you who are not quick on your feet with numbers that is 96 years without being crowned the best team in baseball. The Cubs do not have a record of winning. In 127 years of existence, the Cubs have only won the World Series twice. They won 16 National League Championships, and they won their division three times (Gentile 59). Yet every year, fans flock to Wrigley Field in hopes that this year, is the "next year," that they have been waiting for all their lives. Including the last Cub appearance in the World Series in 1945, Cub fans have been subjected to some very painful moments. They lost the World Series to the Tigers in the seventh game, after rallying to beat them in the sixth game in extra innings. In 1969, the Cubs were ahead of the New York Mets by nine ½ games in the middle of August, and then fell short of even making the post season. The Cubs were leading the best of five series 2-0 in 1984 against the San Diego Padres, only to watch their World Series dream fade away again after a ground ball went through the legs of their first baseman in Game 5. The last heartbreak and quite possibly the most painful came just last year in 2003 when they were just five outs away from making it to the World Series when the Cubs' world came tumbling down again. The Cubs are continually one of America's favorite teams, even though, and quite possibly the reason, their history of heartbreak. 1945

The Cubs faced the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series. This was not the first time they had faced the Tigers in the World Series. The Tigers had beaten them 10 years earlier in
1935. Ironically, the only two World Series that the Cubs won (in 1907 and 1908) were against the Tigers. (Sporting News.com) The Cubs won Game 1 easily, beating the Tigers 9-0. Hank Borowy, who was acquired by the Cubs in late July, pitched a six hitter. Bill Nicholson helped him out with three RBI's and Mickey Livingston and Phil Cavaretta, who was the National League MVP in 1945 each contributed two RBI's. The Cubs went back to Wrigley Field to play the final four games, up 2-1. The Tigers won the first two games in Chicago to take a 3-2 lead in the Series. Borowy had started Game 5 and the game was tied going into the 6th inning, 1-1. He gave up four straight hits and the Cubs ended up losing Game 5. The final score was 8-4. The Cubs came back in Game 6 and won a thrilling 12 inning game by a score of 8-7 to even the Series at three games each. Charlie Grimm, the Cubs manager opted to go with Hank Borowy in Game 7, but Borowy was too tired after starting Games 1 and 5 and pitching 4 innings of relief in Game 6. He gave up base hits to the first three Tigers in Game 7 and Grimm pulled him. Grimm brought in Paul Derringer who gave up 5 runs in that first inning, and they could not come back this time. The Cubs lost Game 7 by a final score of 9-3. Pitching was the key to this series. Both teams pitched extremely well. The Cubs ace Hank Borowy who won 11 out of his 13 starts in the regular season to help lead the Cubs to the World Series pitched in 4 games, starting in 3 games and pitching 4 innings of relief in Game 6. Claude Passeau pitched a one-hitter in Game 3. Dizzy Trout pitched a five-hitter for the Tigers to win Game 4. Virgil Trucks only gave up one run and seven hits for the Tigers in Game 2 for the victory.

One other noteworthy event occurred during the 1945 World Series, which still haunts Cubs' fans today. For Game 4 at Wrigley Field, local bar owner William "Billy Goat" Sianis purchased a ticket for his goat "Murphy" as part of a publicity stunt for his bar, the Billy Goat Tavern. Ushers refused to let the goat into the game and Sianis appealed all the way to Cubs' owner, Mr. Wrigley, to allow...
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