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Cubs historical sleuthing: Phil Cavarretta edition

This famous Cub played for the team for a long time.

Bettmann Archive

Getty Images says:

Nothing graceful about this slide, but Phil Cavarretta is safe as he brings home the Chicago Cubs’ fifth run in the sixth inning of the New York Giants-Chicago Cubs game at the Polo Grounds on June 21st. Play was made on Frank Secory’s hit in the sixth. Umpire Tom Dunn calls the dust shrouded player safe.

So we know the date, but not the year. The clues, besides Cavarretta and Secory, include the plate umpire, Tom Dunn.

That narrowed this down quickly, as Secory played for the Cubs in only 1944, 1945 and 1946, and the only June 21 Cubs/Giants game at the Polo Grounds in those three years happened Friday, June 21, 1946.

We also know the inning where this happened. The Cubs were trailing 3-2 when the top of the sixth began. Lou Stringer singled with one out and after Peanuts Lowrey walked, Cavaretta doubled, scoring Stringer to tie the game.

Secory followed with his single, scoring both Lowrey and Cavarretta to give the Cubs a 5-2 lead. The Giants scored a run in the eighth but the Cubs held on for a 5-3 win.

1946 was umpire Tom Dunn’s last year as a MLB umpire. There isn’t much available online about Dunn’s career, but I noticed on his Retrosheet page that he ejected 27 people, mostly managers, during an eight-year managing career. That seems like a lot, even for that era. Here he is arguing with Cubs manager Jimmie Wilson in 1941:

Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

That’s not Wrigley Field, as the Cubs are wearing their road uniforms. At a glance I can’t tell where that is, though it might be Shibe Park in Philadelphia. If you can sleuth out the ballpark where this argument happened, let us know.

Lastly, other players visible in the Cavarretta photo: The Giants catcher (No. 7) is Walker Cooper, and No. 36 watching the play at the plate is Eddie Waitkus, who was the next scheduled Cubs hitter.