Claude Passeau is probably the best Chicago Cubs pitcher you've never heard of. Too old to join the armed forces during World War II, he thrived in MLB's reduced environment.
From 1941 through 1946 he was elected an All-Star five times. In 292 regular season starts for the Cubs he pitched to a 2.96 ERA, all of those outing coming on the wrong side of 30.
But Passeau's most impressive start came in what was the biggest game of his career. The scene was game three of the 1945 World Series at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. 55,000 screaming fans packed what was known at the time as Briggs Stadium for a series even at 1-1.
But Passeau's quieted those fans. After a second inning single, he faced the minimum. Retiring nearly every batter he faced with textbook efficiency.
Through nine innings Passeau needed only one strikeout, he trusted his defense to do the rest, and that they did. The Cubs got on the board early with a pair of fourth inning RBI singles and never looked back.
Passeau ended the contest 3-0 with a foul pop up as the Cubs took a 2-1 series lead on the Tigers, looking for their first championship in 37 years.
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