It was Wednesday, October 10, 1945. I was happy and excited. My dad was taking me to Wrigley Field.
The Cubs were playing the seventh game of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.
This was it! I was going to see the Cubs win the World Series, something they hadn’t done since winning back-to-back World Series in 1906 and 1907. They couldn’t lose. Everything was going perfectly. I didn’t have to go to school, World War II just ended, and I recently had my Bar Mitzvah and became a ‘man’.
It was a clear afternoon. The temperature was about sixty degrees and there was hardly any wind from Lake Michigan. Perfect!
I, along with 41,589 other fans, cheered as the Cubs came onto the field. Hank Bowory was pitching. He won 21 games during the regular season. He won game one of the Series and two days earlier won game six in the eleventh inning. Everything was set. The stars were aligned.
Detroit’s first batter was Shortstop Skeeter Webb. He singled to right field. Next was Second Baseman Eddie Mayo, he also hit a single into right field moving Webb to third base. Then Center Fielder Doc Cramer singled to left field allowing Webb to score.
Everyone looked up at the giant scoreboard in center field. The scorekeeper placed the number ‘1’ alongside the Detroit name. Wrigley Field was quiet.
On deck was Slammin’ Hank Greenberg. He had returned from the war in July and hit a home run his first day back as a Tiger. Eleven days earlier, Greenberg hit a grand slam home run in the ninth inning against the Saint Louis Browns to win the pennant for Detroit. He had already hit home runs in games two and six of the Series.
I put my Cracker Jacks under my seat. I didn’t feel like eating anymore.
The Cubs’ manager, Charley Grimm, came out of the dugout and replaced Bowory with Paul Derringer. Greenberg hit a sacrifice bunt advancing the runners to second and third.
By the time the first half of the first inning was over, Detroit scored five runs. Since I was now a ‘man’, I held back my tears.
For the next two hours I sat in disbelief as my Cubs tried in vain to come back. Detroit won by a score of 9 to 3. As the blue flag with the white letter ‘L’ was raised above the scoreboard, I cried.
My dad put his arms on my shoulders and said, “It will be OK, the Cubs will win the World Series next year”. I believed.
The Cubs didn’t win the next year, or the year after that, or the year after that. It has been sixty-three years. But I still believe the Cubs will win the World Series next year.
They have to. I don’t have many ‘next years’ left.