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The biggest wins in Cubs history: July 3, 1945

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It only seemed as if Phil Cavarretta was using three bats that afternoon.

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We all knew 1945 as the Cubs’ last N.L. pennant year until the World Series title team of 2016.

But the ‘45 team did not get off to a great start. On June 7 they were 19-19 and in sixth place, 6½ games out of first.

They won 14 of their next 23 but entering the game July 3 against the Braves at Boston they were still in fourth place, five games behind the league-leading Dodgers — and just a game and a half ahead of the Braves, who were tied for fifth with the Pirates.

And that’s when the Chicago Cubs began to assert their 1945 dominance. Behind a 28-hit attack — the franchise record for hits in a nine-inning game — the Cubs scored 15 runs after the fifth inning and crushed the Braves 24-2. The 22-run margin of victory is the franchise record, the only game in Cubs history they have won by 20 or more runs. It is one of 40 games in MLB history (since 1904) with a run differential of 20 runs — interestingly, four of those 40 games have happened since 2018.

The Cubs pushed those 24 runs across the plate that afternoon in Boston with only one home run, hit leading off the fourth by catcher Mickey Livingston. The big hitter for the Cubs — well, one of them, but probably the biggest — was Phil Cavarretta, who went 5-for-7 with five runs scored and five RBI. Don Johnson and Stan Hack also had five runs scored and Johnson had five hits and four RBI. Even pitcher Claude Passeau chipped in with 2-for-6 with a pair of runs. Passeau threw a complete game, allowing 10 hits and the two runs, one of which was unearned.

The game was the second of what turned into an 11-game winning streak that put the Cubs in first place to stay. The Cubs went from 32-28 after losing the first game of a doubleheader to the Giants July 1 to 74-39 and seven games ahead after sweeping those same Giants in a doubleheader August 19 — a 42-11 run.

Speaking of doubleheaders, the July 3 game was one of just eight single games they played between June 29 and July 18. Between those dates the Cubs played eight doubleheaders — thus, a total of 24 games in 20 days, and it was only because of what should have been the All-Star break that they had a few days off in that span. The All-Star Game was cancelled in 1945 due to World War II travel restrictions, but MLB kept the off days that had been scheduled for the game.

This article concludes this series on the biggest wins in Cubs history. Hope you have enjoyed it!