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A Game From Cubs History: April 20, 1941

The Cubs continued their 1940 slide the following year, finishing even worse. But early on, they won an exciting extra-inning affair in St. Louis.

Courtesy Mike Bojanowski

A Cubs fan could have been forgiven if he or she were excited about the 1941 team four games in. The Cubs won three of their first four games, including an 11-10, 10-inning, come-from-behind win over the Cardinals in St. Louis.

A game like that today? We'd be talking about it for weeks. In 1941, though, what we have is Edward Burns' recap from the Tribune:

The Cubs this afternoon won a sterling and startling fortitude fiesta from the St. Louis Cardinals, 11 to 1O in 1O innings to sweep the two game series, their third National league success in four games this season.

There were heroes all over the place, both defensively and offensively. Outstanding among the former were Larry French, immediate successor to Claude Passeau, who disappeared during a six run Cardinal blast in the third inning, and Tot Pressnell, the winning pitcher who was masterful in adversity he seemingly had invited himself. Two great catches by Dom Dallessandro and Lou Novikoff were victory factors, too.

The Cubs, who were retired in the ninth with the bases filled after McCullough had reached first with none out, wasted little time putting across the decisive run in the 10th. Bill Nicholson walked, went to third on Glen Russell's single after Novikoff popped out, and came home on Clyde McCullough's long fly.

"A sterling and startling fortitude fiesta". Now there's some baseball writing!

Unfortunately, there wasn't much fortitude left in the 1941 Cubs. They quickly lost 11 of their next 15. By May 26 they were 10 games out of first place and never again reduced that deficit below double digits. At 70-84, it was the second straight year the Cubs underperformed their Pythagorean projection by seven games.

Here's the full scorecard image from 1941. Click on it to open a larger version in a new browser window or tab