Phil Cavarretta was a long time member of the Chicago Cubs who played in multiple World Series’ for the lovable losers. By no means a star, he was the grind it out hustler the team needed.
How excited was the Chicago Cubs management about the future of their young first baseman? How ecstatic was player/manager Charlie Grimm about the play of his new prodigy? Phil Cavarretta burst on the scene in 1934 as a 17-year-old first baseman, destined for success.
Grimm himself was a 17-year-old when he began his playing career and now 17 years later he was splitting his managing duties with playing full-time first base. The Cubs signed a local kid off the streets of Chicago in hopes he could relieve some of the playing stress from Grimm. Calvarretta hit .381 in his cup of coffee that first year and the heir apparent had been found.
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Having Calvaretta at first base allowed Grimm to stop playing after a couple more years and focus on managing alone, though the offensive numbers Calvaretta hoped to put up never came, at least not in bunches.
He was a solid hitter who played well around the bag at first base and put together a very workmanlike career during his time in the Windy City. Twenty years Calvaretta spent at Wrigley Field, even becoming a player/manager his last three years with the team.
Cavaretta’s play was crucial in the Cubs winning three pennants and he held his own in each World Series he played in. In his MVP season on 1945, Calvaretta hit .355 and drove in a career-high 97 runs. He hit .423 and had a home run in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, but as we know, this was not enough to get the Cubs a title.
After his Cubs playing days were done Phil Cavaretta switched teams but stayed in Chicago, moving cross town to finish his career with the White Sox.
The hometown kid was the heart and soul of so many Cubs teams. His name appears sporadically on the all-time statistics lists for the team and is still being brought up in conversations for best first baseman in team history.