At Long Last, Cubs World Series Bound; This is How Long

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Hi all.  This is how I see baseball on this Sunday, Oct. 23.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that this post took a while to appear.  The Cubs haven’t appeared in a World Series in a while–71 years to be precise.  Since you probably watched the game, I’ll get to it in a moment after mentioning some things about the year the Cubs last played World Series baseball.

The last U.S. president born when the Cubs were in a World Series was George H. W. Bush who left office early in  1993. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama, not to mention the candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were not yet born in 1945. My parents had a nodding acquaintance with one another. Johnny Cash was an Arkansas  farm boy of 13.  Neither of my favorite authors-Dave Barry or Stephen King-were born until 1947. The Beatles were small boys in short trousers.    None of the baby boomers had been born, since most of the fathers involved in creating the boom were still in the service when the Tigers and Cubs tangled over 7 games in October 1945.All players on all 16 teams were white, and this would not change until 1947.   Harry Truman had only been in office since April and the atom bomb had been dropped only two months before the World Series.  Television, delayed by the war would not cover the World Series until 1947.  No team in 1945 sent its radio broadcasters out on road trips to carry the games.  All 16 did re-creations of road games.   No team flew to distant cities.  The thought of major league games in California was, to use a current term from 1945 a “Pipe dream.” So were records that ran at less than 78 RPM and didn’t shatter if you looked at them wrong. Silly Putty was unknown, as were disposable diapers.  frosted flakes and oreos weren’t available on any grocer’s shelf and wouldn’t be until the early fifties.    power steering and shopping malls also were fifties’ items. Ernie Banks, Billie Williams and Ron Santo would all be career Cubs, all Hall of Famers and none would participate in a World Series.    If you called somebody long-distance you told family members to keep quiet or you wouldn’t be able to hear the call. FM radio was almost nonexistent, so the 7 games in autumn 1945 as the Tigeres bettered the Cubs were mostly heard on static-filled AM radios. The surviving recordings feature heavy surface noise which almost drowns out the voices of announcers Bill Slater and Al Helfer.  Both are unremembered today. Past World Series broadcasters Mel Allen and Bob Elson were in the  military and Red Barber, though exempted from military service  didn’t cover a World Series between 1944 and 1946 for reasons obscured by time. Starting Tuesday, crystal-clear digital broadcasts of this World Series, on radio and TV will circle the globe and can be heard and seen on the Internet if no TV or radio is handy.

The game itself which propelled the Cubs into the World Series was no contest, a 5-0 whitewash of the Dodgers and their ace lefty Clayton kershaw. A week ago tonight he had made the Cubs look foolish and in game 3 Rich Hill made them look just as inept.  The world got it wrong about these Cubs who surged back to win games 4 and 5 in the land of fruits and nuts, and took game 6 in their own friendly confines. The Cubs tallied twice in the first.  Dexter Fowler doubled and scored on a Chris Bryant single. Bryant would reach the plate on a Ben Zobrist scoring fly ball.     By the time Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras homered the game was as good as done, with league ERA champ Kyle Hendricks doing what he did all year. The Cubs’ next stop is Cleveland, where another legacy of long-standing misery exists.  The Indians won their last World Series in 1948, while the Cubs won their last one 40 years earlier than that.  Something’s got to give.


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