The 1945 World Series matched the American League Champion Detroit Tigers against the National League Champion Chicago Cubs. The Tigers won the Series, four games to three, giving them their second championship and first since 1935.
Paul Richards picked up four runs batted in in the seventh game of the series, to lead the Tigers to the 9–3 game win, and 4–3 Series win.
The World Series again used the 3–4 wartime setup for home field sites, instead of the normal 2–3–2. Although the major hostilities of World War II had ended, some of the rules were still in effect. Many of the majors' better players were still in military service. Warren Brown, author of a history of the Cubs in 1946, commented on this by titling one chapter "World's Worst Series". He also cited a famous quote of his, referencing himself anonymously and in the third person. When asked who he liked in the Series, he answered, "I don't think either one of them can win it."
In a similar vein, Frank Graham jokingly called this Series "the fat men versus the tall men at the office picnic."
One player decidedly not fitting that description was the Tigers' slugger Hank Greenberg, who had been discharged from military service early. He hit the only two Tigers homers in the Series, and scored seven runs overall and also drove in seven.
The Curse of the Billy Goat originated in this Series before the start of Game 4. Having last won the Series in 1908, the Cubs owned the dubious record of both the longest league pennant drought and the longest World Series drought in history, not winning another World Series until 2016. The Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox had the second- and third-longest championship droughts, respectively (with the White Sox having last won in 1917 and the Red Sox, beating the Cubs, in 1918); the Red Sox would win the World Series in 2004 (86 years after their last championship), and the White Sox would do the same in 2005 (ending an 88-year drought).
The Series was a rematch of the 1935 World Series. In that Series' final game, Stan Hack led off the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 with a triple but was stranded, and the Cubs lost the game and the Series. Hack was still with the Cubs in 1945. According to Warren Brown's account, Hack was seen surveying the field before the first Series game. When asked what he was doing, Hack responded, "I just wanted to see if I was still standing there on third base."
AL Detroit Tigers (4) vs. NL Chicago Cubs (3)
The visiting Cubs began with a bang, scoring four times in the first. A two-run Bill Nicholson double staked pitcher Hank Borowy to all the runs he needed, and Mickey Livingston added RBI singles in his first two at-bats. Future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser didn't last three innings.
After 13 innings without a run, Detroit finally got going in a big way. Hank Greenberg's three-run homer in the fifth off Cub starter Hank Wyse brought Briggs Stadium to life. Virgil Trucks' complete game tied the series at a game apiece.
Claude Passeau pitched a complete game one-hitter. The only hit of the game came with two outs in the second inning off the bat of Rudy York. Other Series pitchers in the "low-hit Complete Game Club" are:
The Series shifted to Wrigley Field and the so-called Curse of the Billy Goat began. Dizzy Trout went the distance for Detroit with a five-hitter. A four-run fourth against Cub starter Ray Prim gave Trout all the runs he needed, Roy Cullenbine's RBI double the inning's big blow.
Back in form, Newhouser went the distance for Detroit, striking out nine. The game was 1-1 until the sixth, when the visiting Tigers got hits from the first four men to bat in the inning, knocking Borowy from the game and bringing the Tigers within a win of taking the Series.
Staving off elimination, the Cubs had things under control, 7-3, going into the eighth, only to see Greenberg's solo shot cap a four-run Tigers inning to tie it. In the 12th, after a one-out single by Frank Secory, pinch-runner Bill Schuster came all the way around on Stan Hack's walk-off double to left.
Besides being the last World Series game the Cubs won until 2016, this would also be the second -- and last -- World Series game that the Cubs would win before their hometown fans at Wrigley Field, until 2016. The only other Wrigley victory was Game 5 in 1935.
The Cubs went with the overworked Borowy, who lasted just three batters, each of whom singled. Paul Derringer replaced him, walked Jimmy Outlaw with the bases full, then watched Paul Richards clear the bases with a three-run double.
The Tigers would not make another World Series appearance until 1968, while the Cubs would not do so until 2016.
1945 World Series (4–3): Detroit Tigers (A.L.) over Chicago Cubs (N.L.)