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Series Wrapup

Story

With St. Louis losing Stan Musial and Walker Cooper to the military prior to the start of the season, the Chicago Cubs ended the Cardinals’ three-year stranglehold on the National League pennant in 1945.  The Cubs finished the season with a record of 98-56, three games ahead of the second-place Cardinals.

Although the Cubs led the National League with a team batting average of .277, they hardly had an overwhelming offense.  Chicago finished just fourth in the senior circuit in runs scored, and they hit only 57 home runs as a team.  Stan Hack, Andy Pafko, and Phil Cavarretta served as the club’s primary offensive threats.  Hack placed among the league leaders with a .323 batting average, 110 runs scored, and 193 hits.  Pafko knocked in 110 runs and batted .298.  Cavarretta earned N.L. MVP honors by knocking in 97 runs, scoring 94 others, and leading the league with a .355 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage.  

The Cubs’ greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which compiled a league-leading team ERA of 2.98.  Ray Prim won 13 games and led the league with an ERA of 2.40.  Claude Passeau won 17 games, placed second to Prim with a 2.46 ERA, and led all N.L. hurlers with five shutouts.  Hank Wyse served as the staff ace, compiling a record of 22-10, an ERA of 2.68, 278 innings pitched, and 23 complete games.

However, the Cubs pitching failed them in the World Series, causing them to lose a close, seven-game Series to the Detroit Tigers.  Although Chicago’s pitching staff held Detroit to a team batting average of just .223, it surrendered a total of 32 runs to the Tigers over the course of the seven games.  Ray Prim and Hank Wyse were particularly ineffective, posting earned run averages of 9.00 and 7.04, respectively.  Only Claude Passeau pitched well, compiling a 2.70 ERA in his two starts and three total appearances.  The Tigers won the decisive seventh contest by a final score of 9-3.  

Although the Cubs ended up representing the National League in the Fall Classic, the senior circuit’s top two offenses belonged to the runner-up Cardinals and the third-place Dodgers, who finished 11 games back in the standings.  The Dodgers led the league with 795 runs scored, and their lineup featured defending N.L. batting champion Dixie Walker, who batted .300, scored 102 runs, and led the league with 124 runs batted in.  Despite losing Stan Musial to the military for the entire year, St. Louis finished second in the league with 756 runs scored.  

Nevertheless, Boston outfielder Tommy Holmes was the senior circuit’s top offensive performer over the course of the season.  Holmes led the league with 28 home runs, 224 hits, 47 doubles, 367 total bases, and a .577 slugging percentage.  He also placed among the leaders with a .352 batting average, a .420 on-base percentage, 117 runs batted in, and 125 runs scored.  Despite leading the league in home runs, Holmes amazingly struck out only nine times over the course of the season.  Unfortunately for the league’s best player, the Braves placed sixth in the final standings, coming in 30 games behind the first-place Cubs.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• August 1 - Mel Ott hit the 500th home run of his major league career, making him the first National League player to reach that milestone.

• September 29 - Chicago Cubs catcher Paul Gillespie homered in his final major league at bat.  He also homered in his first major league at bat three years earlier, making him one of only two players in baseball history to do both. (John Miller is the other).

• October 23 – Brooklyn’s Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a contract.  

• Chicago's Phil Cavarretta led all World Series hitters with a .423 batting average.

• Boston's Tommy Holmes established a new modern National League record by hitting successfully in 37 consecutive games.

• Holmes became the only player ever to lead a league in home runs and also strike out fewer times than any other batter.

• On August 20, Dodgers shortstop Tommy Brown, age 17, became the youngest player in major league history to hit a home run.

• Philadelphia’s Andy Karl pitched 167 innings in relief to set a National League record that stood until 1974.

• Splitting his time between the Braves and Cardinals, Red Barrett led all National League pitchers with 23 wins.

• Jimmie Foxx announced his retirement after appearing in 89 games for the Philadelphia Phillies over the course of the season.  The first player in either league to win three MVP Awards, Foxx ended his career with 534 home runs, 1,922 runs batted in, a .325 lifetime batting average, and a .609 slugging average.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 1848 5418 795 1468 722 .199 257 71 57 75 0 2038 .340 .254 .601 87 0 111
BSN 1801 5441 721 1453 668 .201 229 25 101 82 0 2035 .314 .270 .631 107 0 91
CHN 1802 5298 735 1465 674 .221 229 52 57 69 0 1969 .358 .280 .657 93 0 150
CIN 1730 5283 536 1317 498 .189 221 26 56 71 0 1758 .279 .244 .559 112 0 95
NY1 1811 5350 668 1439 626 .207 175 35 114 38 2026 .314 .280 .627 111 100
PHI 1925 5203 548 1278 503 .188 197 27 56 54 0 1697 .302 .234 .566 113 0 71
PIT 1854 5343 753 1425 695 .283 259 56 72 81 0 2012 .377 .384 .761 122 0 88
SLN 1776 5487 756 1498 698 .200 256 44 64 55 2034 .323 .248 .602 75 138

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 318 87 67 1393 557 586 6079 1357 74 57.100 573 720 61 6 18 32 2
BSN 320 67 85 1391 404 557 6100 1475 99 156.510 624 727 57 7 13 21 4
CHN 290 98 56 1365 541 385 5706 1301 57 60.510 452 533 86 13 14 19 2
CIN 286 61 93 1366 372 534 5984 1439 70 79.970 607 694 77 11 6 20 1
NY1 333 78 74 1374 530 530 5999 1401 85 103.340 620 700 53 13 21 21 5
PHI 366 46 108 1353 433 608 6170 1546 61 112.850 696 864 31 4 26 38 5
PIT 297 82 72 1388 518 455 5993 1477 61 84.460 580 681 73 8 16 17 2
SLN 311 95 59 1408 510 497 5957 1351 70 49.390 507 582 77 18 9 12 2

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 1684 6082 4174 1678 230 .956 0 0 0 0 9
BSN 1634 6174 4172 1809 193 .953 0 0 0 0 4
CHN 1632 6001 4098 1782 121 .967 0 0 0 0 5
CIN 1572 6076 4102 1828 146 .967 0 0 0 0 11
NY1 1632 6134 4124 1844 166 .965 0 0 0 0 12
PHI 1751 6099 4047 1818 234 .918 0 0 0 0 12
PIT 1677 6166 4158 1830 178 .974 0 0 0 0 7
SLN 1664 6004 4226 1641 137 .959 0 0 0 0 12

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1945 World Series, Andy Karl, Andy Pafko, Branch Rickey, Chicago Cubs, Claude Passeau, Dixie Walker, Hank Wyse, Jackie Robinson, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Paul Gillespie, Phil Cavarretta, Ray Prim, Red Barrett, Stan Hack, Stan Musial, Tommy Brown, Tommy Holmes, Walker Cooper

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