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Only living member of the Cubs 1945 World Series team tosses first pitch

CBS Chicago reports that Lenny Merullo, 97, is the only former Cubs player to have worn a Chicago Cubs jersey in a World Series. Merullo wore a Cubs jersey to toss the first pitch in Saturday’s game against the Florida Marlins. Although Merullo needed his walker, he still made it to the mound. Even better, the Cubs won the game 5-2.

Lenny Merullo, 97, throws the Cubs first pitch at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
Lenny Merullo, 97, throws the Cubs first pitch at Wrigley Field on Saturday.ABC 7 Chicago Facebook page

It was also Merullo’s first visit to Wrigley Field since the 1980s. He spent his entire baseball career with the Cubs (1941-1947). He played in 692 games, stole 38 bases, hit 6 homeruns and finished with a .240 batting average.

The last time the Cubs went to the World Series, they lost to the Detroit Tigers in 1945. Merullo went 0 for 2 and played in three games as the Tigers won 4 of 7 games. Merullo said he thought the Cubs would get back. Cubs fans have waited for more than 60 years to get back into the World Series.

Unfortunately, no former Cubs players are still around from the last Cubs team to win a pennant. The Cubs won back-to-back pennants in 1907 and 1908, which means the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in more than 100 years. So what happened to the Cubs good fortune? If you are superstitious and believe in curses, an urban legend has it that Cubs fan Billy Sianis, and his goat “cursed” the Cubs.

In game 4 of the 1945 World Series, P.K. Wrigley kicked Sianis and his goat out of the game. Wrigley kicked him out because the goat smelled bad. Sianis had purchased two tickets for the game—one for himself and another for his goat. After his ejection, Sianis said “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” Although coincidental, some baseball fans believe in the curse.