Hope everyone is well out there — it’s good to be back, and just in time for the best part of the 112th World Series. Tied at one game apiece, the American League Champion Cleveland Indians and the National League Champion Chicago Cubs moved to Wrigley Field in Chicago for Games 3, 4, and 5. Friday night’s Game 3 was the first World Series game played at Wrigley Field since Game 7 of the 1945 World Series, which was won by the Detroit Tigers. RHP Josh Tomlin, 31, who was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 29 starts took the hill for Cleveland. RHP Kyle Hendricks, 26, who was 16-8 and led the NL with a 2.13 ERA in 2016, started for the Cubs. In the regular season, Hendricks only permitted 142 hits over 190 innings and 30 starts. A Dartmouth graduate who majored in economics, Hendricks tops out at 90 mph with an assortment of well-placed fastballs and changeups. If you allow yourself to think back to another Cub right-hander from the late 1980s-early 1990s, Hendricks has a lot of similarity – in terms of style – to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
Some World Series notes:
• Kyle Hendricks’ home ERA at Wrigley Field was 1.37 in 2016, second best for a Cub starter in history; Hall of Famer, RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander has been the only one better over one campaign, at 1.11 in 1920
• Without the DH in a NL park, Cleveland Manager Terry Francona started Carlos Santana in Left Field – with the wind blowing out in Wrigley Field. It was Santana’s first major league start in the outfield; he has been a catcher, first baseman, and DH throughout his first seven seasons in the majors, all with Cleveland
• The last time the Cubs hosted a World Series game, on Wednesday, October 10, 1945:
– Harry S. Truman was the President of the United States. Beginning the year as the Vice President in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth administration, Truman assumed office after FDR died on April 12, 1945
– World War II had recently ended following V-E day on May 8, 1945 and V-J Day on August 15, 1945
– Approximately 5,000 American homes had television sets
– Hall of Fame football coach Marv Levy, who was a Head Coach for 17 years with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills was in attendance at Game 7 of the 1945 World Series, on leave from the Army Air Force. Levy, now 91 and looking tremendous, was on-hand for Friday night’s Game 3
– Detroit Tiger RHP and AL MVP Hal Newhouser threw a complete game in the clincher. The Hall of Fame left-hander allowed three runs on 10 hits, in a 9-3 Detroit victory
Day game in the World Series. One of these years, I truly would like to see Major League Baseball return the day game to the World Series. The World Series has predominantly been played at night since 1971, with the last day game taking place back in Game 5 of the 1984 series (10/14/84) between the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres. Consistently fixated on night games to maximize television ratings over the last 45 years, baseball could have taken advantage of a unique opportunity in this historic matchup between the Cubs and Indians. The Cubs exclusively played day games at Wrigley until 1988 when lights were first introduced. It would have been fitting to return day games to the World Series format, starting with a sun-drenched afternoon at Wrigley Field; this Series will do well in the ratings with the Cubs as a participant and would have had enough of a buzz to generate interest on a college football Saturday. Ratings are not necessarily the best metric to gauge fan interest, and bringing new generations of young fans into the baseball tent will require creative new approaches. A day game at venerable Wrigley Field in the Fall Classic – what could be better?