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lennie merullo, 1977 TCMA The War Years #84, Cubs

Player: Merullo, Lennie

Card: 1977 TCMA The War Years #84

Position: SS

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playerbio

Leonard Richard Merullo (May 5, 1917 – May 30, 2015 in East Boston, MA) was an American professional baseball player who played shortstop in the Major Leagues from 1941–47.

Lenny played shortstop for the Chicago Cubs for seven years in the major leagues in the 1940s. He was deferred from military service because of color blindness. He appeared in three games during the 1945 World Series against two-time MVP Hal Newhouser, pitchers Virgil Trucks, Tommy Bridges, and slugger Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers, who defeated the Cubs in seven games in the Series, the last one the Cubs played in until 2016.

With the death of Andy Pafko on October 8, 2013, Merullo was the last surviving member of the 1945 team, as well as being the oldest living former member of the Cubs. His major league career began in 1941, and in 1942-45 he won the shortstop job, with Stan Hack playing third base and Merullo's roommate, Phil Cavarretta, at first. In 1946, Billy Jurges, Bobby Sturgeon and Merullo shared the shortstop position until Merullo regained the position in 1947. During this period, Lenny was known to have the quickest throwing arm in baseball. His time with the Cubs caused him, in later years, to be a frequent subject of Chicago columnist Mike Royko's annual Cub Quiz.

After retiring from professional baseball, Merullo was chief scout for the Cubs from 1950–72, signing, among others, relief pitcher Moe Drabowsky. He left the Cubs in 1973 to join the then-fledgling Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, where he served until his retirement at the age of 85 in 2003.

Merullo had four sons, the eldest (Leonard) is nicknamed "Boots" because Lenny famously made four errors in a single inning having been informed by the club's owner, Philip Wrigley, that his wife had just delivered. The following day the Chicago newspapers suggested his newborn baby should be called "Boots" in honor of the occasion.

Boots went on to play in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system for three seasons and Lenny's grandson Matt had a six-year career playing for major league teams, mainly the Chicago White Sox.

Lennie passed away in 2015 at 98 years old. Here's a great interview with Lennie in 2014 - still lucid, telling amazing stories.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)

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This player has no additional cards on Baseball Amore.

tourstops


Listen to Larry Baldassaro’s interview with Lennie here – or view the Next Stop on the Baseball Italian Style Tour


Lennie is part of the Chicago Cubs Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop


See all Lennie’s baseball cards at TCDB


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