The Obit For Claude Passeau

Claude Passeau, 94, a Standout Pitcher for the Cubs, Dies

September 2, 2003


Claude Passeau, an All-Star right-hander who pitched a one-hitter in the 1945 World Series for the Chicago Cubs' last pennant-winning team, died Saturday in Lucedale, Miss. He was 94.

Pitching for 13 seasons in the National League, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cubs, Passeau had a career record of 162-150 with a 3.32 earned run average.

A five-time All-Star, he was victimized in one of the most dramatic moments in All-Star Game history when Ted Williams hit a three-run home run off him with two outs in the ninth inning of the 1941 game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, giving the American League a 7-5 victory.

But in 1945, Briggs Stadium was also the scene of one of the most dominating pitching performances in World Series history when Passeau, coming off a 17-9 regular-season record, threw a one-hitter against the Tigers in Game 3. Pitching the Cubs to a 3-0 victory, he faced only 28 batters, one more than the minimum.

"I felt so good I began to tease the Detroit hitters," Passeau told The Sporting News afterward. "I am naturally fidgety rub my fingers up and down my trousers, pick at my cap, pull at my belt, take my time in the box. I noticed it annoyed them, so I put it on more than ever."

Passeau, a native of Waynesboro, Miss., is survived by a son, Claude Jr., of Lucedale; a daughter, Patty Passeau, of Mobile, Ala.; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Passeau felt that his accomplishments were tarnished somewhat by a reputation for throwing a spitball.

"They put it on my baseball card that I was a cheater," he told The Associated Press in 1997, displaying a card with the label "Spitballer?" above his picture. "I couldn't throw a spitball if it was legal, I threw different speeds and sunk the ball and slid it. I have been told it was one of the liveliest fastballs some of the scouts ever saw."

The MaconTelegraph

Posted on Sat, Aug. 30, 2003

Former baseball All-Star Passeau dies at 94
Associated Press

Former Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher and Waynesboro native Claude Passeau died Saturday of natural causes. He was 94.

Casey Passeau, Passeau's grandson, on Saturday said his grandfather never fully recovered after breaking his hip about six weeks ago.

"He didn't care how many strikeouts a pitcher had, he was only worried could they finish the game," Casey Passeau said. "That was like his life, too. He lived 94 years and he wouldn't give up. He told me he was going he wanted to fight it all the way. He didn't want to be taken out."

Passeau played 13 seasons in the major leagues, eight with the Chicago Cubs. He won 162 games for the Pirates (1935), Phillies (1936-39) and Cubs (1939-47).

He pitched a one-hit shutout in game three of the 1945 World Series against Detroit.

"It was one of the easiest games I ever pitched," Passeau told The Associated Press in a 1997 interview. "I only pitched to 28 batters. Every time I threw the ball, they swung at it. I walked one and had one get a hit."

Passeau won 20 games and had the National League's second-lowest ERA in 1940. He was a National League All-Star starter in 1946 and an All-Star selection in 1941, 1942 and 1945.

When he retired from baseball in the late 1940s, Passeau and his family moved to Lucedale, where he started a farm equipment dealership.

Passeau was inducted into Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1964 and was its oldest member.

He played in college at Millsaps from 1928-1931, where he earned 12 varsity letters.

Funeral services will be held Monday in Lucedale, Casey Passeau said.

Claude Passeau Sr.
Mr. Claude Passeau, Sr.--Age 94, died August 30, 2003 at the George County Hospital, Lucedale, MS. His visitation will be held August 31, 2003 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Sigler Funeral Home. Funeral services will be September 1, 2003 at 11:00 a.m. from the First United Methodist Church in Lucedale, MS. Internment will follow in the Magnolia Cemetery, Lucedale, MS. Born April 9, 1909 in Waynesboro, MS, Mr. Passeau grew up in Moss Point, MS and graduated from Moss Point High School. He attended Millsaps College from 1928-1932 and graduated from Millsaps in 1932. While attending Millsaps he earned 12 Athletic Letters as a standout member of the baseball, basketball, football and track teams. His professional baseball career began in 1935 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After 3 years with the Philadelphia Phillips (1936-1939) he played with the Chicago Cubs from 1939-1947. He managed the Cubs Minor League team from 1948-1949. The highlights of his professional baseball career include: Pitched a one hitter in the 1945 World Series for the Chicago Cubs, Major league All-star (1941, 1942, 1945, 1946) and inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (1964). He was a co-founder of the Farmer Supply Company (John Deere dealership) of Lucedale, MS in 1940 and was active in the business until his death. He was elected sheriff of George County in 1968 and served two consecutive 4 year terms. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Lucedale, MS. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Bernyce Spafford Passeau. He is survived by a daughter, Patty Passeau of Mobile, AL; a son, Claude (Kay) Passeau, Jr. of Lucedale, MS; three grandsons and their families, Claude 'Tippy' (Leslie) Passeau, III and their son, Claude 'Will' Passeau, IV, Clay (Crystal) Passeau and son, Christian Passeau, Casey (Kim) Passeau and daughters, Claudia and Kaitlyn Passeau, all of Lucedale, MS; one sister-in-law, Eloise Spafford of Mobile, AL; a dear friend, Dorothy Beard of Lucedale, MS. SIGLER FUNERAL HOME, 4248 Main St., Lucedale, MS 39452 is in charge of arrangements.
Published in the Mobile Register on 8/31/2003.