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.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.