Lennie Merullo, Last Alive to Play in World Series for Cubs, Passes at 98

Lennie Merullo AP
Chicago, IL

The last remaining man to play in the 1945 World Series for the Chicago Cubs passed this weekend. Lennie Merullo was 98. Now no living person can boast of playing for the Cubs in a World Series game.

Merullo was an infielder for the Cubs from 1941 to 1947 and was last seen at the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field in 2014, when he threw out the first pitch of a game in June. He died of complications of a stroke.

The Cubs released a statement on Merullo’s passing.

We were saddened to hear the news our oldest living Cub Lennie Merullo passed away earlier today. While I have experienced many joys as owner of this great franchise, one of the most memorable was meeting Lennie last season. When the Cubs last appeared in a World Series in 1945, Lennie was a 28-year-old shortstop. Nearly 70 years later, he brought the same youthful spirit and excitement, as he threw out the first pitch and led the entire ballpark in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame'” joined by family and friends. If there was any doubt Wrigley Field does make dreams come true, you could look into Lennie’s eyes beaming with joy as he visited his beloved ballpark for what would be the last time. He told everyone he would never forget that day. To his family, friends and loved ones, our organization will never forget him.

In October of 2014, Merullo became the oldest living Cub when Andy Pafko passed in October of 2013.

After he retired as a player, Merullo begame a talent scout for the Cubs from 1951 to 1972, when he then joined the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. He worked until he retired at 85 in 2003.

The Chicago Cubs have become famous as the quintessential sad-sack team. Every year local fans jokingly spout the slogan “wait ’til next year” after yet another losing Cubs season comes to an end. The Cubbies haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and the last pennant they won was in the 1945 season.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com