Chicago Cubs: Oldest former player Lennie Merullo passes away at 98


Oldest remaining Cub Merullo passes away at 98

The oldest former player of the Chicago Cubs,

Lennie Merullo

, passed away on Saturday at the age of 98. He was also the last remaining Cubs player to have played in the World Series. Merullo was part of the 1945 team that lost in seven games to Detroit. The Cubs haven’t returned since, which unless you’ve been under a rock is the longest championship drought of any team in professional sports.

Merullo played shortstop for the Cubs from 1941-47 and was a Cub for his entire although brief major league career. He was a .240 career hitter, with six home runs and 152 RBIs over his seven-year career. Merullo played in three games of the ’45 Series against the Tigers, going o-for-2 with a strikeout. He played with the likes of Stan Hack, Andy Pafko, Phil Cavarretta and Claude Passeau.

When the Cubs celebrated Wrigley Fields 100th anniversary, Merullo was part of the festivities, throwing out the first pitch and singing “Take me out to the ballgame”. I recall watching his interview on the air with Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper and enjoying their conversation. Merullo was sharp as a tack, doing the interview and keeping up with the game as he was doing so.

His grandson Matt Merullo was also a major league ballplayer, spending most of his career with the Chicago White Sox. He spent the last season of his baseball career in the Cubs organization but never played for the Cubs themselves.

Merullo was one of the last links to the Cubs past and their World Series history. Now it’s left to accounts shared through the generations, books and pictures. After his playing days, Merullo did some scouting for the Cubs as well. He was a walking encyclopedia of Cubs history, and his passing deserves a half-mast flight of the “W” flag from the Cubs.

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