Phil Joseph Cavaretta was born July 19, 1916 on the North side of Chicago Illinois to Italian imigrant parents.
He became a star with his home town Cubs, playing there from 1934 through 1954. After a brief seven game debut in 1934 he became the Cubs main first baseman, hitting over .290 nine times, making three All Star appearances & winning the 1945 MVP Award.
1945 would be his best year, he won the N.L. MVP Award and leading the league in hitting (.355) & on base% (.455). That year he drove in a career high 97 runs, scored 94 runs, hit 34 doubles with 10 triples & 6 HRs.
His twenty years with the Cubs is the most of any Cub player except Cap Anson. Lifetime Cavaretta batted .293 lifetime with 1977 hits, 990 runs scored, 347 doubles, 99 triples, 95 HRs, & 920 RBIs.
He became the Cubs player/manager in June 1951 succeeding "The Fordham Flash" Frankie Frisch. Over two and a half seasons he compiled a 169-213 record.
Up until the early seventies batting coaches weren’t the norm yet, and the Mets were no exception. In 1973 GM Bob Scheffing hired Phil Cavaretta as a special batting instructor to the team. The two had been team mates in the forties & developed a friendship.
Eventually he was helping the hitters at Shea Stadium, on home games only, and just during batting practice. He didn’t travel on the road with the ball club.
Cavaretta had the honor of being the oldest former major leaguer still living before his passing at 94 years old.