The Cubs Win the Pennant!

Charlie Grimm, the Billy Goat Curse, and the 1945 World Series Run


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About the Book

On September 29, 1945, the Chicago Cubs’ fireball pitcher Paul Erickson threw a curve ball to Tommy O’Brien of the Pittsburgh Pirates with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. O’Brien’s knees buckled, as any hitter’s knees would when he expects a fastball but gets a curve instead. O’Brien had reason to be surprised—it was Erickson’s first curveball of the game, and some even claim that it was his first of the year. The ball crossed home plate for strike three. The Cubs won 4-3 and captured the National League championship.
The Cubs’ journey to the National League pennant in 1945 is detailed here. The author interviewed nine surviving members of the 1945 Cubs, including pitchers Erickson, Hank Borowy, Hank Wyse and Claude Passeau, second baseman Don Johnson, shortstop Lenny Merullo, backup catcher Dewey Williams, first baseman Phil Cavaretta, and outfielder Andy Pafko, and includes their recollections of that magical Cubs season.

About the Author(s)

John C. Skipper, a political reporter for the Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette, has written numerous books on politics and baseball, including a history of the The Iowa Caucuses and acclaimed biographies of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dazzy Vance and Charlie Gehringer.

Bibliographic Details

John C. Skipper
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1816-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8177-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. The Return of Charlie Grimm      9

2. Pitching Staff: The Old and the Wyse      26

3I. The Starting Lineup      39

4. The Season Begins      65

5. The “Pitch and Pray” Lineup Wins It All      82

6. Surprises and Otherwises      100

7. The American League Pennant Race      110

8. The World Series      128

9. Afterthoughts      160

10. Major League Career Statistics of 1945 Cubs      172

Bibliography      193

Index      195