I'm sad to report to you that Lennie Merullo, the oldest living former Cub and the last living player who had played for the Cubs in a World Series, passed away Saturday at age 98. He'd just had his birthday about three weeks ago. Here's a statement from Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts:
"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."
I'm glad that Lennie and his family were able to make the trip to Wrigley last summer and I was honored to meet all of them. Tom Ricketts is right -- that day was magical for Lennie and his entire family and I'm thrilled to have played a small role in helping that day happen.
To Lennie's sons Len Jr. (known to all as "Boots") and Dave and to all of Lennie's family and friends, my sincere condolences on his passing.
Lennie Merullo played shortstop for the Cubs for seven seasons and hit .240/.291/.301. In the 1945 World Series, he played in three games, going 0-for-2. At the time of his passing he was the fourth-oldest living former player and the oldest living player to have played in any World Series.
Let us hope we soon have many players who can wear Lennie's mantle of "Cubs player who played in a World Series." It's what he would have wanted most.
Here's the video of Lennie Merullo's appearance in the WGN-TV booth last June 7.