Phil Cavarretta was synonymous with Chicago baseball for more than two decades. In 1935 at the age of 18 he was the starting first baseman for the National League champion Cubs. In 1945 he won the Most Valuable Player award, leading the Cubs to the World Series as he won the batting title. He was player/manager of the Cubs for three seasons before he was fired in spring training prior to the 1954 season after being too blunt about his team’s bleak chances in the pennant race.
Fired before Opening Day
Cavarretta was the first major league manager fired during spring training. He was axed on March 29, 1954, after he told reporters the Cubs had little chance to finish in the first division. In 1978 Alvin Dark would become the second manager fired during spring training (by the Padres), and in 2001 Joe Kerrigan would become the third after he was let go by the Red Sox.