Chris Jaffe, inspired by the death of Virgil Trucks, who was the second-to-last guy on the 1945 Tigers team, wanted to know something:
This got me wondering, who are the last survivors of various pennant-winning teams? Who was the last man left who could say he personally played in the Fall Classic? So I did the digging and looked it up.
He’s a historian by trade, so he does that a lot. In this case he looked at all World Series teams before 1949 — after 1949 there are multiple survivors for each team — and wrote up the results. Sadly: every single man who played in a World Series prior to 1945 is now in Baseball Valhalla. Stan Musial was the last pre-1945 fall classic participant to shuffle off this mortal coil. Also: last man from the 1947 Dodgers team, recently immortalized in “42” is Ralph Branca.
This stuff fascinates me. If I were a billionaire I’d hire a guy like Jaffe just to give me a report of weird random crap he thought to look up. He or she would have coffee with me each morning and just fill my head with this kind of thing.