became known as "Mr. Cub,"
was the enthusiastic spirit of the Chicago Cubs. Long before
made the term "hustle" famous, Cavarretta made hustling the trademark of his baseball career.
Philip Joseph Cavarretta, who grew up in Chicago and starred for 22 major league seasons in his hometown, ended up with near-Hall of Fame credentials. A left-hander at the plate and a southpaw in the field, Phil batted .293 lifetime. From 1934 to 1955, he produced 1,977 hits, 990 runs, and 920 RBI in 2,030 games.
In his sparkling 1945 season, Cavarretta led the Cubs to their third pennant in 11 seasons, won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award, and topped the NL by hitting .355.
"Philibuck," as sportswriters liked to call him, made it to the majors in 1934 at age eighteen. He displayed top-notch baseball skills along with great desire and hustle. In fact, he played baseball with an intensity which was not otherwise apparent in his agreeable temperament.
"Cavarretta would cut your heart out for a run," observed Herb Graffis in the American Legion Magazine for November 1946. On the other hand, "Off the field Emily Post would gush about him as the strong silent type."
At nineteen Cavarretta became the youngest player in the 1935 World Series. The Detroit Tigers, who had lost the 1934 fall classic to the St. Louis Cardinals of "Gashouse Gang" fame, defeated the Cubs in six games.
Chicago's second-year first sacker batted only .125, collecting three hits in 25 at-bats.
Reminiscing about that series in a 1995 interview, Cavarretta recalled: "I was 19 years old and I was scared to death!
"Actually, I knew it was a lot of pressure, but I think I played fairly well. I didn't hit too good. Detroit had guys like
Tommy Bridges, who were great pitchers.
was catching, a Hall of Famer.
was the second baseman, another Hall of Famer.
"I looked out there, and thought, 'Boy! This is not such an easy game!' It was a tough World Series, and it went six games. But the Tigers were loaded in 1935.
"Also, Detroit had
was at first base, another Hall of Famer. He murdered us in both series, 1935 and 1945. He must have hit four home runs off us."
The Cubs proved an even match for the Tigers through six games, thanks in part to good batwork by players such as second baseman
Billy Herman, who hit .333, with two doubles, a triple, and a home run, plus 6 RBI, and catcher
Gabby Hartnett, who hit .292, including a homer and 2 RBI. However, Chicago averaged only .238 as a team.
won two games for Chicago, blanking Detroit in the opener, 3-0, on a four-hitter. Despite a sore shoulder, Warneke came back to win game five at Wrigley Field over
Schoolboy Rowe, 3-1, with the help of three solid innings of relief from
In the meantime, Detroit won three straight games, two by one run. The Tigers grabbed the second game, 8-3, opening up with a four-run first inning — keyed by
hurled a six-hitter for the victory.
Detroit won game three in the 11th inning, 6-5, on
RBI single. In game four
Tex Carleton, 2-1, giving the Tigers a 3-1 series edge.
Game six could have gone either way. With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the 9th,
led off with a triple to deep center field. But Detroit's curveball ace
came through in the clutch, striking out shortstop
Billy Jurges, getting pitcher
on a grounder to the mound, and retiring leadoff man
on a fly ball.
Detroit rose to the occasion in the last of the ninth, winning the championship on a single by
Mickey Cochrane, a ground out which advanced the catcher, and a game-winning single to right field by
"I played with the Cubs for 20 years," Cavarretta reflected. "But our 1935 club was the best ball club that I played on with the Cubs."
But before that World Series, Cavarretta had proven to be what baseball scouts often call a "phenom." Born on July 19, 1916, into a working class Italian family on Chicago's near North Side, Phil grew up a stone's throw from Hell's Kitchen, an area with tough living conditions, violent crime, and few opportunities.
Instead of the streets, Phil chose baseball as the way to earn a good living. The lean, wiry, quiet-spoken youth excelled in sports at the Larrabee YMCA and the Stenton Park playground.
A hard-throwing teenager, Phil became a standout pitcher at Lane Technical High, leading his team to city championships in 1932 and 1933. Also, he pitched his American Legion club to a city title in 1932. But his Legion squad fell short in a bid for the Illinois championship.
However, the Great Depression gripped the nation, and by 1934 the family of Joseph and Angeline Cavarretta was nearly broke. Now a senior at Lane Technical, Phil believed he owed it to his parents to contribute money to the household. In May his high school coach, Percy Moore, arranged a tryout for him with the Cubs, then managed by Moore's friend Charley Grimm.
The determined Cavarretta sparkled at Wrigley: he hustled in the outfield chasing fungoes, he pitched 15 minutes of batting practice, and, when his turn came at the plate, he belted a home run off
— the Cubs' top hurler.
Signed to a minor league contract for $125 a month, Cavarretta spent the summer playing in two leagues, first at Peoria of the class B Central League.
On May 15, showing his knack for timely performances, Phil — signed as a pitcher — started in right field and hit for the cycle, rapping a single, double, triple, and home run in six trips. He missed a second homer only because a strong wind kept it in the park!
He batted .316 in 24 games for Peoria, but the circuit folded due to a lack of finances. Phil was optioned to Reading of the class A New York-Penn League, where he hit .308 in 85 games.
Impressed, the Cubs brought Cavarretta to Chicago. He played seven games in the National League, batting .381.
"I was packing my bags on the last day of the season, and I got a telegram from Chicago. I was supposed to report to the Cubs, who were on their last Eastern trip in Boston. This is where I met the Cubs."
After two pinch-hitting assignments,
put the rising star in the lineup at first base.
On September 25, 1934, starting against the Cincinnati Reds in Chicago, Cavarretta belted a home run off rookie
Whitey Wistert. Phil's big day also included two walks, a stolen base, and 12 putouts with no errors. Chicago won, 1-0, and he was on his way to stardom.
Cavarretta's career had an unusual number of "firsts":
hit a homer off Warneke in his first turn at bat in the Cub tryout
hit a homer, and also hit for the cycle, in his first minor league game
hit his first big league homer against Cincinnati in his first full game in 1934
on September 25, 1935, a year to the day after his first major league home run, hit another solo homer, this time to beat St. Louis, also 1-0.
That win gave Chicago 19 straight victories in a 21-game winning streak, and the victory allowed the Cubs to clinch a tie for the pennant with the Cardinals.
Against the Redbirds, Cavarretta homered off
Paul Dean, who allowed only seven hits. In the second inning Phil turned on a curveball waist high and on the inside part of the plate, lining the ball over the right field pavilion for the game-winning hit.
Cavarretta enjoyed a good rookie season in 1935, hitting .275 in 146 games as Chicago's regular first baseman. Although not a power hitter, Philibuck also cracked out 28 doubles, 12 triples, and eight home runs, and he produced 82 RBI.
Considered a throwback to older days when big leaguers played the game more aggressively, Cavarretta always gave baseball his best shot. At 5'11 1/2" and 175 pounds, he was not big. But in the phrase of the day, he played for keeps.
"Hustling was just born in me, I guess," Phil told The Sporting News in May 1945, during his MVP season. "To my way of thinking that's the very least you can do when you play ball, and it pays off all around. By hustling you look good, you make your ball club look good, and you make the fans feel like they're really getting their money's worth."
Cavarretta continued to perform in stellar fashion for the Cubs. In 1936 he hit .273 with 18 doubles, one triple, and nine home runs, and he contributed 56 RBI. Chicago, however, finished second to the New York Giants. In 1937 Phil upped his average to .286, including 18 two-baggers, seven triples, and five homers, plus another 56 RBI.
In 1938, when player-manager
led the Cubs to the pennant with his famous "homer in the gloamin' [gloom]" on the last day of the season, Cavarretta suffered several minor injuries. That year he played 92 games and batted only .239.
Returning to form in the World Series, Cavarretta hit a sizzling .462, although his heroics came in a losing cause. Chicago was matched against the powerful New York Yankees, led by slugging hero
and pitching great
The Yanks had defeated the New York Giants in the World Series of 1936 and 1937. In 1938 the New Yorkers swept four straight games by scores of 3-1, 6-3, 5-2, and 8-3.
"The 1938 World Series is something I very seldom like to talk about," Cavarretta said in 1995. "We got wiped out four in a row. I think we were in one game, when the late
pitched at Wrigley Field. At that time Diz had the bad arm, and he was throwing 65 and 75 mile-an-hour fastballs."
Cavarretta laughed, and said: "Those big Yankee hitters were swinging at his motion. But they finally caught up with him in the 8th inning.
hit a two-run home run off him, and in the 9th Big Joe D hit a home run off him. Then we lost the next two games.
"But it was a great Yankee team. They had
King Kong Keller,
Lefty Gomez, just to name a few!
"We felt bad because we had a pretty good club, and you want at least to win one game. You hate to be wiped out, let me put it that way. But to be in the World Series, that's a dream come true, to be honest with you."
But at age 22, Cavarretta had started in two World Series, a feat achieved by few men who did not play for the Yankees.
However, in 1939 and 1940 Cavarretta experienced off-seasons, due partly to injuries. In late May of 1939, playing against the Giants at the Polo Grounds, Phil fractured his right ankle sliding into second base. Ironically, in early June of 1940, just over a year later, the Chicagoan broke the same ankle again — also against the Giants, and also on a slide at second.
As a result, Cavarretta played only 22 games in 1939, batting .273. The next year he played 65 games and hit .280. But in 1939 the Cubs fell from first place to fourth, following Hartnett's off-season trade of shortstop
Billy Jurges. Chicago did not climb into the first division until the club finished fourth in 1944.
Healthy by mid-1940, Cavarretta split time between the outfield and first base — a practice
began in 1937. In 107 games during 1941, 33 of which he covered first base, he batted a solid .286 with 18 doubles, four triples, and six homers.
In 1942 and 1943, respectively, Cavarretta played 136 and 144 games, mainly at first base during the latter season. He averaged .270 and .291 at the plate. Those were wartime years. But the Army classified him 4-F, so he was unable to serve.
Cavarretta's career began peak during 1944, when he enjoyed his first .300-plus season. Missing only two games, he batted .321, which ranked fifth in the league. Also, the Cub stalwart tied Cardinal first baseman
for the National League lead in hits with 197.
Phil's hits included personal-bests of 35 doubles and 15 triples (third in the NL), and he added five circuit clouts. He also scored a career-high 106 times and drove home 82 runners.
His strong performance through June (he was hitting .298 at the break) won Cavarretta a berth on the All-Star team. In the contest at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, he was a standout, clubbing a bases-empty triple and a single in two official trips. He also walked twice and scored once, as the Nationals won, 7-1.
"Finally making the 1944 All-Star team after ten years was a thrill in itself," Phil told The Sporting News in May 1945. "Then to star in the game — well, I'll never forget that as long as I live."
In 1945 Cavarretta came through with an outstanding season. The Cub veteran paced the majors with a .355 average, including 34 doubles, 10 triples, and six homers. He also scored 94 runs and collected a career-best 97 RBI.
Cavarretta was voted the league's Most Valuable Player, making him the NL counterpart of southpaw
Hal Newhouser, the American League's MVP. In 1945 "Hurricane Hal," who was the American League's MVP in 1944, posted major league bests with his 25-9 record and 1.81 ERA. Appropriately, the two excellent players squared off in the World Series, after each helped his club win the pennant.
Besides Cavarretta, Chicago's dangerous batsmen included:
Stan Hack, a .301 lifetime hitter whose career spanned 1932 through 1947. "Smiling Stan," now 35, batted .323 in 1945
Andy Pafko, in his third of 17 seasons during which he hit .285 overall, batted .298 with 12 homers in 1945. The speedy Pafko, 24, also paced the Cubs with 110 RBI, which ranked third in the league, and placed fourth in MVP balloting
Bill Nicholson, a 16-year major leaguer, played through 1953 and batted .268 lifetime with 235 home runs. The free-swinging "Mr. Swish," 30, suffered an off year in 1945, hitting .243 with 13 homers
Chicago's best pitcher was 29-year-old
Hank Borowy, who fashioned a National League record of 11-2 with a league-best 2.13 ERA. But the Cub right-hander already compiled a 10-5 mark for the Yankees, before they waived him to Chicago on July 27. His overall 1945 record was 21-7 with a 2.65 ERA for 254 innings.
Aside from Borowy, Chicago's top hurlers included
Hank Wyse, 27, who went 22-10 with a 2.68 ERA;
Claude Passeau, 36, who was 17-9 with an ERA of 2.46;
Paul Derringer, 38, who went 16-11 with a 3.45 ERA; and
Ray Prim, 38, who was 13-8 with a 2.40 ERA.
Cavarretta believes Borowy was the key to Chicago's season:
"He won 11 games for us. Three of those were wins over the Cardinals who we battled for the pennant. If we had not gotten Borowy from the Yankees, which I credit to
Charlie Grimm, who was our manager for the second time, we could not have won it."
Detroit also had several first-class veteran players, notably left fielder
Hank Greenberg, who hit 331 homers in his 13-year career. Hank returned to Detroit in mid-1945 after more than three years in the Army Air Force. Now 34, he played 78 games and batted .311 with 13 homers and 60 RBI.
Due to travel restrictions still in place, even though World War II ended in August 1945 after Japan surrendered, the two clubs played the first three games of the fall classic in Detroit.
The series opener began at 1:30 on Wednesday, October 3, before a packed house of 54,637 chilly fans at Briggs (later Tiger) Stadium.
Hal Newhouser, who worked a major league high 313 innings during the season, got off to a shaky start when Chicago scored four runs in the top of the first inning.
grounded out to
at third base, second sacker
Don Johnson, who batted .302 in 1945, bounced a single into short center field. Moments later, Johnson stole second base. Left fielder
(he hit .283 in 1945) flew out center.
Cavarretta, batting cleanup, hit a slow roller to second base. Running hard, he beat the throw, and Johnson moved to third.
Newhouser delivered a low curve to
Andy Pafko, and, when the ball got away from catcher
Paul Richards, Johnson scored from third and Cavarretta took second. Newhouser intentionally walked Pafko, creating a forceout situation.
With Chicago ahead, 1-0,
delivered the big blow, a wind-blown triple to deep right center which right fielder
(.254 in 1945) singled over second, scoring Nicholson. Livingston tried to steal, but Richards gunned him down. Chicago led, 4-0.
Detroit loaded the bases in the bottom of the first on a single by
and two walks, but Borowy pitched out of the jam. In the second inning Borowy escaped trouble when he induced Newhouser to hit a grounder that the Cubs turned into a double play.
In the third Chicago struck again.
led off with a line drive to deep center. The ball bounced off the glove of hard-running
and fell for a double.
laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runner over. Cavarretta singled to center, which drove home run number five. Pafko belted a long double off the wall in left center, scoring Cavarretta.
Nicholson popped out to the second baseman, but Livingston lined a base hit to center.
At that point Tiger manager
sent Newhouser to the showers. Right-hander
relieved. The inning ended when Richards threw out Livingston, again trying to steal. But Chicago led, 7-0.
The Cubs added two insurance runs in the seventh inning on Cavarretta's 350-foot home run to right center, Pafko's single and stolen base, and Nicholson's RBI single.
Borowy pitched a six-hitter, walking five and striking out four. Relying mainly on what Cavarretta called a riding fastball, Hank pitched his best game of the series.
The Cubs came up with 13 hits. Cavarretta went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Andy Pafko also rapped three hits, while Johnson, Nicholson, and Livingston chipped in two each.
did a fine job for Detroit, Phil recalled, "but we hit him pretty hard in the first game. He was tough on us in the second and third games.
was tougher for the Cubs to hit, and he was tougher for me to hit.
"Newhouser, Trucks, and Trout were 'power pitchers,' and their strength was the high fastball.
"But our guys, except for
Andy Pafko, were better low-ball hitters.
"Speaking of Newhouser, he not only had a great fastball, he had the best curveball I ever saw."
Chicago, however, was stopped on Thursday, 4-1, by right-hander
— who had come out of the service in time to start against St. Louis on the last day of the season. The Tiger fireballer scattered seven hits, three by
With one out in the fourth, Cavarretta singled to right center. But he stretched it to a double when Detroit's fielders couldn't decide who should handle it. Phil scored on Livingston's base hit, giving Chicago the lead.
But the game's big story came in the fifth inning when
blasted a three-run homer deep into the stands in left center field, capping a four-run Tiger outburst. After that, Trucks dominated the Cubs.
With the series tied at one game each, Chicago won game three Friday afternoon, 3-0, behind a superb performance by right-hander
Claude Passeau. Pitching the second one-hitter in World Series history, Passeau gave up a single by
in the second and a walk to catcher
in the sixth.
The Cubs collected eight hits, two apiece by Hack and Lowrey, while Cavarretta went 1-for-2 and walked once. He also bunted for a sacrifice in the fourth, moving Lowrey, who doubled, to third base. After Pafko walked, Nicholson singled to score Lowrey, Livingston flied out, and shortstop
(who batted .261 in 1945) singled to score Pafko — giving the Bruins a 2-0 edge. Passeau, in control on the mound, added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Both teams took the train to Chicago on Friday evening, October 5, and the series resumed at ivy-walled Wrigley Field on Saturday. Again good pitching triumphed, only this time hard-throwing
turned the trick, 4-1. He gave up five hits, two by Lowrey. Cavarretta was 0-for-4, his only hitless series game.
took the loss, allowing four Tiger tallies in the decisive fourth inning. The visitors bunched four hits, two walks, and a forceout to produce their runs. The Cubs scored once in the sixth when Johnson tripled down the right field line. He came home on a throwing error by York — after Lowrey's ground out, third to first.
With the series tied, Newhouser returned to form and defeated the Cubs on Sunday, 8-4. The great southpaw allowed four runs on seven hits, walked two, and fanned nine. Hal's clutch performance and Detroit's 11-hit attack-paced by Greenberg's three doubles-gave the Tigers their first edge.
Borowy, after pitching well for five innings, was knocked out in the sixth when Detroit broke a 1-1 tie and scored four times. Newhouser remained in control, even though he yielded two runs in the seventh and a final marker in the ninth.
Cavarretta scored the final run, after getting his only hit in three trips, a double (he walked once). But Detroit backed Newhouser with two more runs in the seventh and another in the ninth.
In game six on Monday, Chicago pounded out 15 hits and outlasted Detroit in 12 innings, 8-7.
rapped the biggest blow, a 12th inning double to left field-when the ball hit a sprinkler head, and hopped over Greenberg's shoulder.
Hack's two-bagger brought home
from first base with the winning run. Schuster had been put into the game after
- who came through with two pinch hits in the series-got a clutch two-out single.
fifth pitcher, took over in relief in the eighth, and he absorbed the loss.
came out of the bullpen in the ninth, and he pitched four scoreless innings to notch Chicago's victory.
The three-and-a-half hour topsy-turvy struggle was, at that time, the longest World Series game. Several records were set, such as the use of 38 players — 19 per team. Detroit's 13 hits included Greenberg's solo homer in the eighth, which tied the game at 7-all. For the winners, Hack collected four hits,
had three, and Cavarretta went 2-for-5, including a two-run single in Chicago's four-run fifth frame.
After a day off on Tuesday, the teams returned to the diamond for the finale on Wednesday. With the series tied at three games each, Cavarretta recalled that the stage was set for a dramatic seventh-game Cub victory.
Instead, Newhouser won his second complete game, 9-3. Called upon for the fourth time, but the third time in four days, Borowy pitched to three Detroit hitters before
decided his best hurler was a lost cause.
As 41,590 paying fans watched, most in stunned silence, Detroit scored five runs in the first inning. Webb, Mayo, and Cramer all lined singles off Borowy, and Webb scored. At that point Grimm called on Paul Derringer to face Greenberg, who, with a sore wrist, bunted the runners along.
Derringer walked Cullenbine on purpose to load the bases, York popped out to second, and Outlaw walked, which scored Mayo. The normally weak-hitting
doubled (he slugged two in the game) deep to left center, which cleared the bases and gave Newhouser a 5-0 lead. The Cubs, although paced by Cavarretta's 3-for-4 day, never got back in the game.
Newhouser scattered 10 hits, allowing single runs in the first, fourth, and eighth innings. He walked one but fanned 10. In the final analysis, Prince Hal became Detroit's greatest hero, as he hurled two crucial complete-game victories.
Cavarretta, the season's other MVP, became Chicago's biggest hero. Phil batted .423 with 11 hits in 26 at-bats, including two doubles, one home run, 7 runs scored, and 5 RBI.
also had a fine series, hitting .367 (11-for-30) with 4 RBI.
contributed 8 RBI, although averaging .214.
won two crucial games, but he also lost two. As Cavarretta explained, "Borowy was a fine pitcher, but he just ran out of gas by the seventh game."
Cavarretta distinctly remembers the 1945 World Series:
"Overall, I would have liked to win one World Series. But I feel like I played well in all three World Series. I believe I always played well under pressure."
Even though the Cubs never again came close to winning the pennant, Cavarretta's career, including managing and coaching, continued for over three decades. A mainstay of the Cub offense and defense, he batted .294 in 1946, slugging 28 doubles, 10 triples, and eight homers. He scored 89 times and knocked in 78 runners. In 1947 he enjoyed another good season, averaging .314 in 127 games, even though his power numbers declined.
After finishing third in 1946 with an 82-71 record, Chicago dropped into the second division for years. From 1947 through 1953, Cavarretta's last season as a Cub, Chicago was mired in the basement three times (1948, 1949, and 1951). The Cubs never climbed above fifth place — a surge which came when Phil served as player-manager, beginning in mid-1951.
During 1948 and 1949, however, Cavarretta's at-bats fell below 400 for the first time since 1941. Still, he averaged .278 in 111 games and .294 in 105 games. The same trend continued in 1950 and 1951, as he batted .273 and .311, respectively.
Phil played less than 90 games each of those summers, despite his record of timely hitting and good fielding. For example, in 1951 he led the league in pinch-hits, going 12-for-33 and averaging .363.
Asked about those years, Cavarretta replied that Cub managers, particularly
in 1950 and 1951, seemed to think he was getting too old. Despite several injuries in 1954, his final full season that he spent with the White Sox, Phil batted .316 in 158 at-bats. He also produced six doubles, three home runs, and 24 RBI.
In other words, Cavarretta proved himself a good hitter, and a clutch hitter as well, throughout his 22 seasons.
What was his biggest thrill as a player?
On July 29, 1951, eight days after he was named Cub manager, Cavarretta helped his club beat the Phillies and ace right-hander
twice in a Wrigley Field double-header. Phil started at first base in the opener.
In the sixth inning, with his team down 1-0, Cavarretta ripped a triple off Roberts, driving home two runs. Minutes later Cavarretta scored on a sacrifice fly. In the eighth, with the Phillies ahead, 4-3, the manager knocked in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. The Cubs rallied to win in the ninth, 5-4.
In the nightcap, with Philadelphia leading in the seventh, 4-2, the Cubs scored twice. With two runners aboard, Roberts was called in from the bullpen. He intentionally walked
to get to the pitcher,
Instead, Cavarretta put himself in to bat for Leonard. Wasting no time, Phil drove Roberts' first pitch into the right field bleachers for his third homer of the season — and his first career grand slam! The blast propelled the Cubs to an 8-6 win.
"Robin threw me an inside slider," Cavarretta reminisced, "and I hit a grand slam homer to win that game, too. So I beat
twice in one day!
"Roberts lives near me, and he still kids me about that double-header. 'Who would be dumb enough to be manager and put himself in for a pinch-hitter?'
"'I tell him, 'You were dumb enough to pitch me inside, cousin!'"
It is fitting that Cavarretta's highlight came in Chicago, since he gave his hometown fans so many fine seasons. Later, he managed in the minors from the mid-1950s through 1972.
Also, Cavarretta coached three seasons for Detroit, arriving in 1961 with new manager
Bob Scheffing, the former Cub. Phil recalls working with
Norm Cash, Detroit's good-hitting but then weak fielding first baseman.
Cavarretta said almost every day he would take Cash to the right field corner, where they would work out:
"I would hit Norm ground balls, and he worked on fielding. Then I would have him scoop a bunch of bad throws."
By the All-Star break in 1961, Cash was proving to be a good fielder. Also, Detroit chased New York for the pennant until mid-September. As
competed to break
home run record, Cash paced the AL with a sizzling .361 average. "Stormin' Norman" also thrilled Tiger fans by slugging 41 home runs and producing 132 RBI.
Later, Cavarretta served as minor league hitting instructor for the New York Mets from 1973 through 1977. He gave similar instruction to the Mets' batters in 1978.
A lifelong Cub fan, Cavarretta, who received 129 votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, loves baseball. He may not be in Cooperstown, but his career record makes him a potential candidate for the Veterans' Committee.
In any event, from the 1930s through the 1950s countless baseball fans, notably those in Chicago and the surrounding region, loved and respected Cavarretta and his hustling, exciting brand of baseball.