Golden Baseball Magazine

The Ultimate Game

This series presents the final game of each post-season series that went all the way.
Until 1946, that means World Series Game 7s (none of the best-of-nine World Series went the full length).
1945 - Game 7: Detroit Tigers @ Chicago Cubs

Browns OF Pete Gray
Pete Gray

Hank Greenberg arrives at army base.
Hank Greenberg

Detroit P Virgil Trucks
Virgil Trucks
Tigers World Series Patch Cubs P Hank Borowy
Hank Borowy

Cubs Manager Charlie Grimm
Charlie Grimm

Tigers P Hal Newhouser
Hal Newhouser

Detroit P Dizzy Trout
Dizzy Trout

Detroit Manager Steve O'Neill
Steve O'Neill

Cubs P Claude Passeau
Claude Passeau

Cubs P Hank Wyse
Hank Wyse

Cubs P Paul Derringer
Paul Derringer

Chicago Cubs 1945 Press Pin
Pin awarded to press members at Wrigley Field

1945 Detroit World Series Program
1945 Cubs World Series Program

Pennant Races

1945 was a momentous year in world history because World War II ended with the surrender of Germany in May and Japan's capitulation in early September.

  • The vast majority of MLB players in the military would not return to their clubs until 1946.
  • So baseball fans suffered through one more year of subpar play.
The paucity of talent is best illustrated by the fact that one-armed OF Pete Gray played the entire '45 season for the defending AL champion St. Louis Browns and hit .218, striking out only 11 times in 253 plate appearances.

Both pennant races came down to the final weekend.

  • After winning the 1940 World Series, the Tigers weren't a factor in '41, '42, and '43, finishing 4th, 5th, and 5th.
  • It was no coincidence that their decline coincided with the departure of slugger Hank Greenberg, the first ML player to be inducted into the armed forces.
  • Detroit rebounded in '44 to battle St. Louis down to the last day before the Browns captured the only pennant in their history.

In '45, Detroit faced another unexpected challenger, the Washington Senators.

  • Placed on the army's inactive list after the fall of Germany, Hank returned to the Tigers July 1. Without benefit of spring training, he homered in his first game before a crowd of 47,729.
  • In first place by 1.5 games when Greenberg returned, the Tigers increased their lead to 4.5 on several occasions but couldn't shake the Senators and the Yankees.
  • As the stretch run began in September, the Yankees faded, making it a two-horse race between Detroit and Washington.

The finish was impacted by some strange scheduling.

  • Because they shared Griffith Stadium with the Redskins, the Senators' season ended a week early on September 23.
  • At that point, the Tigers at 86-64 led the 87-67 Senators by one game. Washington could only hope that Detroit would lose three of its last four games to force a playoff.
  • The Tigers split a DH with Cleveland at home before heading to St. Louis for two games with the Browns.
  • The leaders needed only one win to clinch the pennant. When the Saturday game was rained out, a DH was scheduled for Sunday.
  • However, it rained some more, letting up enough to allow the first game to start an hour late. With rain coming down hard, Greenberg stepped to the plate in the 9th with the sacks loaded and cracked the first pitch into the bleachers for a 6-3 win. Credit for the victory went to Virgil "Fire" Trucks, who started three days after being released from the military.

The NL crown also went to a team that regained its former glory.

  • The Cubs made the World Series in 1938, but the four-game sweep by the Yankees seemed to propel Chicago into a downward spiral.
  • They finished no better than 4th the next six years before finding the right combination in '45.
  • The Cubs ranked fourth in runs/game but led the league in ERA with a sparkling 2.98 to cop the pennant by 3 games over the Cardinals, who were second in both runs/game and ERA.
  • RHP Hank Borowy went 11-2 after the Cubs purchased him from the Yankees July 27 for $97,000. Altogether, Hank won 21 in '45.
    Borowy had been a productive member of the Yankees staff from 1942-45, amassing 56 victories. But Hank had deveoped blisters on the fingers of his pitching hand that caused him to miss several starts.
  • Charlie Grimm's club seemed to be fading when they lost three of four to the Cards in home-and-home series September 18-26 to reduce their lead to 1.5 games.
  • But the Cubs won their final five, all on the road, to end St. Louis's streak of three straight pennants.
The series promised to be a good one between evenly matched teams.
  • Oddsmakers established the Tigers as 10-to-13 favorites to cop the series.
  • The eight Detroit starters averaged 32.75 years of age compared to the Cub regulars' 29.4, making these teams two of the oldest in World Series history.
  • One veteran player explained why he favored the AL champs: I like the Tigers for one main reason. The Tigers won their pennant beating first-division clubs. The Cubs won their pennant beating the tailenders. They won 21 of 22 from the Reds, but they lost 16 of 22 with the Cardinals. The Cubs murdered second- or third-class outfits, but they couldn't handle real class.
  • The Cubs were in much better physical shape. Detroit ace Hal Newhouser had a large painful lump in his back. Another starter, Dizzy Trout, suffered from a misplaced spinal vertebra. Greenberg, hobbled by a bad ankle, was running even slower than usual and also had a bad arm.
  • We'll be the most relaxed club ever to enter a World Series, said Tiger skipper Steve O'Neill. We were in first place 110 days and sometimes by only half a game. The boys are so accustomed to tension a World Series will be nothing new to them.
  • With wartime travel restrictions still in effect, the first three games would be played in Detroit and the rest in Chicago. A day off was scheduled, if needed, between the sixth and seventh games.
  • The Mutual Broadcasting System transmitted all the games nationwide with Al Helfer and Bill Slater at the mike.
1945 Chicago Cubs Lineup
Cubs hitters L-R: Bill Nicholson, Andy Pafko, Phil Cavarretta, Peanuts Lowrey, Don Johnson, Stan Hack
Series Results
  1. Wednesday, October 3 @ Detroit: Cubs 9 Tigers 0
    WP: Hank Borowy; LP: Hal Newhouser
  2. Thursday, October 4 @ Detroit: Tigers 4 Cubs 1
    WP: Virgil Trucks; LP: Hank Wyse
  3. Friday, October 5 @ Detroit: Cubs 3 Tigers 0
    WP: Claude Passeau; LP: Stubby Overmire
  4. Saturday, October 6 @ Chicago: Tigers 4 Cubs 1
    WP: Dizzy Trout; LP: Ray Prim
  5. Sunday, October 7 @ Chicago: Tigers 8 Cubs 4
    WP: Newhouser; LP: Borowy
  6. Monday, October 8 @ Chicago: Cubs 8 Tigers 7 (12 innings)
    WP: Borowy; LP: Trout

The Cubs staved off elimination by winning Game Six but paid a price.

  • Chicago led 7-3 going into the eighth, but the Tigers rallied for four runs to tie the game.
  • With his back to the wall, Grimm brought in Borowy to start the 9th despite the fact that Hank had toiled 5+ innings the day before.
  • Hank threw four scoreless innings and got the win when Stan Hack's double knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th.
  • Those heroics sent the Cubs into the first seventh game in franchise history.

1945 World Series action
1945 World Series action at Wrigley Field
Game 7: Wednesday, October 10 @ Chicago

O'Neill's pitching selection was obvious but not Grimm's.

  • 24-year-old southpaw Newhouser, born and bred in the Motor City, had compiled a sterling 25-9 record and 1.81 ERA. He would throw on two days rest after beating the Cubs in Game 5.
  • Grimm couldn't go with Claude Passeau. He pitched a one-hit shutout in Game 3 and started Game 6, lasting 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision.
  • Hank Wyse, Game 2 loser, had relieved Passeau but gave up three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning to blow the lead. With an off day, Wyse could start and go as long as possible.
  • Charlie could call on 38-year-old Paul Derringer, a veteran of three World Series with the Cardinals and Reds. Paul went 16-11 in '45, his best season since 1940 when he pitched the final game for the Reds over the Tigers.
  • But Grimm decided - some say reluctantly - to send Borowy to the hill with just one day's rest. Writers speculated that Derringer would be first up in the bullpen should Hank run into trouble early.
  • Neither team worked out in the cold, raw weather of the off day, preferring to rest after six grueling games.

A line formed through the night in 33° weather to buy tickets to the 7th game in hopes of seeing the Cubs win their first Fall Classic since 1908.

  • The Cubs organization worked most of the night preparing for the sale as there had been no provision for a seventh game in the original planning.
  • Wrigley Field ticket booths opened at 8 am and by noon the tickets had all been sold for the following day's game.
  • Borowy stopped by at 11 AM to get his tickets. When asked about how his arm would be in cold weather, he replied, As a matter of fact, I'd sooner pitch this game in a touch of brisk weather. It doesn't take as much out of your arm when there is a slight chill in the air. Also, I have my arm loosened and feel strong. The forecast is for weather in the middle 60s tomorrow and that should be just right.
  • Newhouser rested at the Tigers hotel and underwent salt baths. He had been hampered all season by a growth on his left shoulder blade, which would probably have to be removed by a surgeon in the off season. Novocaine deadened the pain. I fell all right now and will be all right tomorrow. I will be more rested that Borowy and should be better. That night, Hal pulled the telephone cord out of the wall so he wouldn't be disturbed.

The high temperature for Game 7 turned out to be 55° under a gray, hazy sky that the sun broke through intermittently.

  • Dizzy Dean made a "regal visit" to both dugouts before the game, attracting hordes of autograph seekers and photographers. The lens-snappers paired Dean with the Tigers' own Dizzy, Trout. No one was surprised when the two talked each other's ears off. Then an imaginative cameraman had Dean pose holding a revolver against the side of Jimmy Outlaw, Tiger 3B.
  • Greenberg arrived with an injured wrist that made it doubtful for a while whether or not he'd play. He took one futile swing in batting practice, then walked away.

The two dugouts offered a stark contrast before the game.

  • The Cub bench looked like a hotel lobby, with everyone free and loose, casual and talkative. Grimm was as nonchalant as if his team was about to play an exhibition game. Charlie signed baseballs and scorecards.
  • By contrast, the tense Tigers sat around and didn't say much. Even the usually genial Greenberg snarled like a Tiger with a sore paw, which he was. His condition probably accounted for the depressed mood.
Wrigley Field 1945 World Series
Fans outside Wrigley Field for 1945 World Series game.

The 41,590 who overflowed Wrigley Field saw a not-so-thrilling finale to what had been an exciting Series.

1945 Chicago Cubs

Detroit SS Skeeter Webb
Skeeter Webb
Detroit Tigers Lineup
Skeeter Webb SS
Eddie Mayo 2B
Doc Cramer CF
Hank Greenberg LF
Roy Cullenbine RF
Rudy York 1B
Jimmy Outlaw 3B
Paul Richards C
Hal Newhouser P
Detroit 1945 Road Uniform 1945 Chicago Cubs Home Uniform
Chicago Cubs Lineup
Stan Hack 3B
Don Johnson 2B
Peanuts Lowrey LF
Phil Cavarretta 1B
Andy Pafko CF
Bill Nicholson RF
Mickey Livingston C
Roy Hughes SS
Hank Borowy P
Cubs SS Roy Hughes
Roy Hughes

Tigers 2B Eddie Mayo
Eddie Mayo

Detroit CF Doc Cramer
Roger "Doc" Cramer

Detroit OF Roy Cullenbine
Roy Cullenbine

Detroit 1B Rudy York
Rudy York

Tigers 3B Jimmy Outlaw
Jimmy Outlaw

Tigers C Paul Richards
Paul Richards

Johnson slides into 2B with a double in 1st ininng of Game 7.
Don Johnson slides in with a double as Eddie Mayo reaches for the throw.

Cubs P Hy Vandenberg
Hy Vandenberg

Cubs P Paul Erickson
Paul Erickson

Tigers C Bob Swift
Bob Swift

1st inning
  • SS Skeeter Webb worked the count full, then slapped a single through the hole between 1B and 2B for his fifth hit of the Series.
    2B Eddie Mayo clubbed the first pitch for a perfect hit-and-run single between 1B and 2B sending Webb easily to 3B.
    Derringer started warming up hurriedly in the Cubs bullpen down the LF line.
    After taking a ball, CF Doc Cramer blooped a single just inside the LF line, scoring Webb and sending Mayo to 2B.
    Grimm, seeing that Borowy had nothing, called for Derringer to replace him. The crowd gave the crestfallen hurler a generous hand as he left and greeted Paul with an encouraging cheer.
    Cleanup hitter Greenberg, his taped wrist apparently making it difficult to swing, sacrificed, 1B Phil Cavarretta unassisted, to move the runners up a base.
    RF Roy Cullenbine was purposely passed to fill the bases.
    Claude Passeau and Hy Vandenberg went to work in the bullpen.
    1B Rudy York worked the count full, then sent shivers through the crowd when he lifted a towering fly down the RF line that Bill Nicholson couldn't reach, but the ball fell foul by a matter of inches. York then popped to 3B Stan Hack.
    But Derringer, with a chance to get out of the inning with no further damage, walked 3B Jimmy Outlaw (hitting just .167 in the Series) on four pitches, forcing Mayo home.
    C Paul Richards, who had twice been removed for PHs during the Series, fell into a 1-2 hole. Now only one strike from ending the inning, Derringer fired a fast ball that Richards drove into the LF corner for a bases-clearing double.
    Newhouser rolled out, 4-3.
    5-0 Tigers
  • Hack, who led all hitters with 10 hits, including four in the 6th game, received a noisy welcome only to be called out on a sweeping curve.
    2B Don Johnson doubled to LCF.
    Peanuts Lowrey bunted and was safe when Newhouser fumbled the ball and threw too late to 1B, Johnson holding 2B.
    Captain Cavarretta, the NL batting champion, singled past Mayo into RF, scoring Johnson and sending Lowrey to third.
    With the crowd imploring him to keep the rally going, Pafko hit into a 6-4-3 DP.
    5-1 Tigers
2nd inning
  • Leading off for the second inning in a row, Webb flied deep to Pafko.
    Mayo lined out to CF.
    After taking a blooper ball and a knuckler from Derringer, Cramer singled to RF.
    Again not swinging his bat, Greenberg walked as Derringer protested a couple of plate umpire Art Passarella's decisions.
    Cullenbine also drew a base on balls, filling the bases for the second straight inning.
    Derringer whipped two strikes past York, then walked him, forcing in Cramer.
    6'4" RHP Hy Vandenberg came out of the bullpen and stemmed the tide by knocking down Outlaw's bouncer and throwing to 1B.
    6-1 Tigers
  • Nicholson, the Cubs' HR leader with 13, fouled to C.
    Outlaw threw out C Mickey Livingston.
    SS Roy Hughes was called out on strikes.

3rd inning

  • Richards took strike three.
    Newhouser rolled to Johnson.
    Hughes tossed out Webb.
  • Vandenberg, hitting for himself, flew to Cullenbine in short RF.
    Hack grounded out 5-3.
    Webb snared Johnson's hopper near 2B and threw him out.
4th inning
  • Vandenberg continued to pitch well, catching Mayo looking.
    Cramer popped to SS.
    Greenberg walked on five pitches, again keeping the bat on his shoulder.
    Cullenbine broke his bat on a long foul, then fanned. Livingston dropped the third strike but threw Cullenbine out at 1B.
  • Lowrey flied to Cullenbine, who made a long run to pull it down in front of CF Cramer.
    Cavarretta singled to CF.
    Pafko hit a wind-blown triple over the head of Cramer, who misjudged it. A perfect throw-in reached the plate a step ahead of Cavarretta, but Richards couldn't dig it out of the dirt.
    Nicholson bounced to the mound. Newhauser drove the runner back to 3B before throwing to 1B.
    Livingston also went out 1-3.
    5-2 Tigers

5th inning

  • York bounced out 5-3.
    Outlaw singled over the SS's head.
    With Richards at the plate, Outlaw stole 2B. Then Paul grounded to Hack, who threw him out after holding the runner.
    A smattering of applause greeted Newhouser as he stepped in. He smacked a liner near the LF line, but Lowrey snared it on the run.
  • Hughes was called out, disputing the second and third strike calls.
    Ed Sauer, batting for Vandenberg, struck out on a change of pace.
    Hack grounded to SS.

6th inning

  • Another lanky RHP, 6'2" Paul "Li'L Abner" Erickson, took over on the hill.
    Webb skied to Pafko.
    Lowrey went back to the LCF wall to haul in Mayo's fly on the run.
    Cramer bounced a single into CF, his third hit of the day and eleventh of the Series.
    Doc stole second as Livingston dropped the pitch to Greenberg. Hank then went down swinging.
  • Prince Hal's patented curveball got Johnson swinging.
    Peanuts slapped a single to LF. Greenberg bobbled the ball, but Lowrey didn't take a chance going to 2B.
    Getting a steady diet of curves, Cavarretta popped to Cramer in short CF.
    Pafko became Newhouser's seventh strikeout victim.
7th inning
  • Erickson's 3-2 pitch to Cullenbine missed the plate to give Roy his eighth Annie Oakley of the Series.
    York looked at strike three.
    Cullenbine took off on the first pitch, but Outlaw fouled it off. Two pitches later, Pafko ran in for Outlaw's fly.
    Richards doubled to the RCF wall, scoring Cullenbine.
    Newhouser lined to Pafko, who caught the ball running to his left.
    7-2 Tigers
  • York fielded Nicholson's grounder and tossed to Newhouser just in time.
    Livingston lined a single on two hops to Greenberg in LF.
    Newhouser uncorked a wild pitch in the dirt to Hughes, Mickey taking 2B. Roy then walked on a 3-2 delivery.
    Frank Secory, who had gone 2-for-4 as a pinch hitter in the Series, stepped in for Erickson and was called out on a sharp-breaking 0-2 curve.
    Hack bounced to his opposite number, Outlaw, who stepped on 3B for the forceout.

8th inning

  • Claude Passeau toed the slab for the Cubs. He still felt the effects of knocking down a line drive with his bare hand in Game Six.
    Webb drew a base on balls.
    Mayo doubled over the head of the leaping Hack down the LF line. Webb, running on the 3-2 pitch, scored all the way from 1B without a throw.
    Cramer grounded to 2B Johnson, who bobbled the ball but threw in time to 1B, Mayo moving to 3B.
    Greenberg sliced a liner to Lowrey, who made a nice running catch. Mayo scored after the catch. 1945 scoring rules did not credit Big Hank with a sacrifice fly, but he did get the RBI, his seventh.
    Cullenbine popped to Johnson.
    9-2 Tigers
  • Mayo scores in 8th.
    Mayo scores on Greenberg's fly as the throw gets away from Livingston.
  • Johnson grounded out to Webb.
    Lowrey blooped a single, his second of the day, down the LF line.
    Cavarretta grounded a sharp single through the box, sending Peanuts to 3B.
    With a chance to score a run with a simple groundout, Pafko fanned.
    A foul off Nicholson's bat struck C Richards on the hand, sending him to the dugout immediately for treatment of a broken little finger on his right hand. Bob Swift took over behind the plate. After the delay, Nicholson doubled to LCF, scoring Lowrey and sending Cavarretta to 3B. The RBI was Bill's eighth, tying him for most in a 7-game series.
    With two ducks on the pond, Livingston went down swinging on a fast ball.
    Tigers 9-3

9th inning

  • Hank Wyse, the sixth Cubs P, retired the Tigers in order, making fans wonder what would have happened if he had started in place of Borowy.
    York flied to Nicholson in front of the vines in RF.
    Outlaw lofted a fly to CF.
    Hack threw out Swift.
  • O'Neill gave Ed Miercowicz a chance to get his name in the Series box scores by sending him to LF to replace Greenberg.
    Hughes singled sharply on the ground up the middle. The Cubs now had ten hits to just nine for Detroit. (But the Tigers benefitted from eight walks while Newhouser passed just one.)
    Clyde McCullough hit for Wyse and became Newhouser's tenth K.
    Clyde became the first player in history to appear in a Series game without playing a game during the regular season. The Cubs' backstop for the 1941-42 seasons and part of '43 until called into the military signed a contract right before the Series and was eligible to participate as a discharged serviceman.
    Hack completed an 0-for-5 day by flying to CF.
    Johnson forced Hughes, 6-4, to give Detroit its third World Series title and the Cubs their seventh Fall Classic loss in a row.

UP writer Walter Byers reported on the Tigers celebration this way.

The Tiger really roared today. Manager Steve O'Neill's new world champions barged into their dressing room under the Wrigley Field stands ... and cut loose with the wildest celebration that this ball park has ever seen for many years.
Jammed into the small room with about 40 newspaper men and cameramen, the players, sweaty and dirty, their uniforms half off, pummelled teammates and reporters alike, slapping backs, shaking hands and going nuts in a nice sort of way.

Tigers celebrated their victory in the 1945 World Series.
Tigers celebrate their championship.
  • O'Neill: I waited 36 years for this, and brother, now that I've got it, I've got everything. After the bedlam subsided, he told reporters this is the greatest thrill of them all. For a guy like me, who has been in the majors, turned back to the minors and then have another chance in the majors, it means a whole lot. ... The Cubs didn't have a pitcher to stop us. Borowy is a good pitcher, but he can't pitch that amount in such a short time.
  • Usually a serious guy, Newhouser was all over the locker room, messing up his teammates' hair, pulling out shirt tails, and mugging for the cameramen. Tired? Nuts. I could have thrown that damn ball all day, and that big lead didn't mean a thing. I never let up once during the game.
  • Mayo: We're just an ordinary ball club, but that knack of winning the big game consistently brought us through. Look at Steve. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
  • Greenberg sat in the corner with his head down, taking no part in the hilarity. He shooed away reporters who gathered around him.

The Cubs continued the mood that engulfed them early in the game.

  • Grimm: A good team won the World Championship, but a better club lost it. It was the pitching that decided it. Spotting Borowy sitting silently with his chin on his hands, Charlie told him: You gave her a helluva try anyhow, Hank.
  • In his syndicated column, Grimm wrote: We just couldn't stop them. We threw everything we had at them, and they just kept throwing it back at us. That O'Neill is a great manager. And Newhouser is a great pitcher. But you have to remember on thing. This Cub ball club isn't a losing ball club. We got nosed out of the series, yes, but we've got a great team. I think you can count on us for the World Series again next year. I've never had as much confidence as I have in this team. Even after today.
  • After dressing in his street clothes, Derringer went to the Detroit locker room of offer his congratulations. Sorry we didn't give you a better battle.

An estimated 10,000 fans, band and all, staged an impromptu victory celebration in and around Union Station in Detroit when the Tigers arrived just before 1 AM.

  • The nearby streets were filled with pennant-waving, horn-tooting celebrants as the players hustled along a police-lined aisle to waiting taxicabs.
  • After a quick night's sleep, the Tigers reconvened for an official victory salute at a banquet sponsored by the Detroit Board of Commerce. Tiger followers could dine with their heroes for $10 a plate.

A number of records were set or tied during the Series, including:

  • Attendance: 333,457, besting the prevous high of 328,051 in 1926 (Cards-Yanks)
  • Receipts: $1,592,454, including $100,000 for broadcasting rights, surpassing by more than a quarter of a million dollars the previous high for Reds-Tigers in 1940
  • 3B Stan Hack: four hits in Game Six (tie); twelve putouts.
  • Hal Newhouser: 22 strikeouts to break the record of 20 held by three others.
  • Claude Passeau: only 28 batters faced in one game.
  • Andy Pafko: most chances by outfielder, 26.

Years later, some Cubs remained bitter about Grimm's decision to start Borowy in Game 7.

  • Merullo: Borowy never should have pitched in that last game. He came into the clubhouse after pitching a bunch of innings in relief in Game 6 and said: "Skip, I'll go right to bed tonight. We have an off day tomorrow and I'll be ready for that seventh game." And Grimmy said, "You're my man." Just like that. He should have stuck with Vandenberg, who was rested. Borowy was all pitched out.
  • Nicholson: I knew Hank shouldn't have pitched. I knew when I was sitting there, 'cause he was a man who had to have his rest, and seven innings was top notch for him, and when he didn't get his rest, I knew were in for a rough day. I didn't say anything to Grimm, but he couldn't get anybody out.
  • Wyse: It was Grimm's fault. He didn't pitch the pitchers right. I don't know why he couldn't have pitched Paul Erickson or Vandenberg in that seventh game. They were furious and so was I. I didn't talk to Charlie about it. I wouldn't have done any good.
Sam Sianis and his goat at Wrigley Field
Sam Sianis lifting the curse in 1982
Others have another explanation for the Cubs' loss and their World Series drought since 1945.
  • As the story was told in a 1981 article in the Rockford (IL) Register Star, William Sianis, a Greek immigrant, opened The Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago in 1934.
  • His place quickly became known not only for the service but also for Sianis's pet goat, Murphy, which he kept in the tavern.
  • A huge Cubs fan, Sianis bought two tickets to the fourth game of the 1945 World Series, one for himself and one for the goat.
  • According to the legend, fans complained about the odor of the goat, and an usher ejected man and goat from the stadium. (One version of the story has owner Philip Wrigley himself ousting the pair.)
  • Enraged, Sianis put a hex on the Cubs, saying they would never win another pennant during his lifetime. When Detroit won the Series, Sianis telegraphed Wrigley, "Who smells now?"
  • Another embellishment of the tale has Wrigley sending a letter to Sianis in 1949 asking for forgiveness. He told the press, I never forgive. And I never forget. The goat died shortly afterwards of a broken heart.
  • Sianis died in 1970 at the age of 76 without seeing another pennant for the Cubs.
  • The year before, Chicago held a five-game lead on September 3. Cubs beat writer Dave Codon confronted Sianis. "Looks like your curse is wearing off, eh Billy?" But Sianis held his ground. "They're not going to do it." The Cubs lost 11 of 12 to enable the New York Mets to roar past them and win the NL East by eight games.
  • William's nephew Sam took over management of the saloon. With the Cubs in first place by 6 games on July 4, 1973, Sam tried to bring another goat, this one named Socrates, into Wrigley Field. But the ushers again refused to admit the animal. The hex was back, and the Cubs dropped out of first place by the end of the month on their way to a fifth-place finish. The goat and I love the Cubs, said Sam, but the Cubs have to be nice to the goat. If they don't let us in, they're not going to win.
  • In 1982, in hopes of mending bridges and improving their record, the Cubs invited Sam and the current pet goat to the opening game of the season. The two showed up, paraded around the field, and lifted the hex.
  • After Sianis tried to bring the goat to another game, the Cubs decided he was just seeking publicity for his tavern. So the team stopped contacting him.
1945 Detroit Tigers
References: The World Series, David S. Neft & Richard M. Cohen (1990)
The Complete Chicago Cubs: The Total Encyclopedia of the Team, Derek Gentile (2002)

Next in this series: 1946 Boston @ St. Louis