Cavarretta is 88 years old now and battling back from a bout with leukemia, as is my dad (who was born the same year Cavarretta took over as the Cubs’ starting first baseman). Cavarretta, who was a star for my old high school (Lane Tech in Chicago), played in the last three World Series in which the Cubs appeared–’35, ’38, and ’45–and he’s looking forward to this season as the year the Cubs finally get back to the Fall Classic.
I mentioned Cavarretta in a short story I recently wrote, “The Gloamin'”. He was the first baseman in the famous game in 1938 when Cubs player-manager Gabby Hartnett smacked an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth over the left field wall just as umpires were preparing to call the game on account of darkness. The dramatic victory, one of the greatest moments in baseball history, propelled the Cubs, who went 22-7 down the stretch that year, into the World Series against the Yankees.
Shameless plug: “The Gloamin'” is one of the stories in the forthcoming anthology Thirteen From the Grave, which will be published for Halloween this year by Bay Bridge Press.