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ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- The last living player from the 1945 World Series was pulling for the Cubs this year.Ed Mierkowicz didnt play for Chicago. He was on the Detroit team that beat the Cubs in Game 7 at Wrigley Field 71 years ago. Now 92, the Michigan native remains a big baseball fan and was looking forward to this years World Series finale Wednesday night between the Cubs and Cleveland Indians.Id like to see the Cubs win, he said Wednesday. Not because I dont like Cleveland, but its been a long time for the Cubs.The Cubs did win, beating Cleveland 8-7 in 10 innings to win their first title since 1908. Before this season, they hadnt even made it to the World Series since 1945 , when Mierkowicz was on the field for the final outs. His only appearance of that series came at the end of Game 7.Chicago had tied the series with a 12-inning victory in Game 6, but the Tigers scored five runs in the top of the first in Game 7 and never looked back. Mierkowicz admits he doesnt remember a lot of the details from games over seven decades ago, but the play-by-play at Baseball-Reference.com helps fill in the gaps.With the Tigers up 9-3, a nervous Mierkowicz entered to start the bottom of the ninth, replacing Detroit star Hank Greenberg in left field.If I took my pants off, my knees would be shaking, he said. I just went along with the flow.Mierkowicz was a 21-year-old rookie who had appeared in only 10 games during the regular season.It was exciting, he said. In fact, it was so exciting, I dont know what the hell was going on -- all the people going crazy.The first batter singled his way, but the final three outs came quickly after that, and the Tigers were champions. Mierkowicz said there was no wild, bubbly-filled celebration the way there would be these days.They couldnt afford it, he said. They probably had a little drink or something like that, but it wasnt like now.Mierkowicz recalls throngs of fans waiting when the team took the train back to the Detroit area. He said there was a party at a hotel -- and he won a car in a raffle.He also speaks highly of Greenberg.I was a rookie. The other guys sort of shunned the rookies, Mierkowicz said. He was good to me. I didnt know him that well, but he was a great guy, great ballplayer.Mierkowicz was born in Wyandotte, which is just south of Detroit. Hes friends with Bob Kuzava, the Wyandotte native whose big league pitching career spanned over a decade. Kuzava was the man on the mound when the New York Yankees closed out World Series championships in 1951 and 1952.Mierkowicz ended up playing only 35 major league games over four different seasons with the Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. He said it was like a cup of coffee -- but no cream.Still, not many players can say they were in the game when their team won a World Series, and Mierkowicz enjoys talking about his career.At his home in a senior living community in suburban Detroit, he has a team picture of the 1945 Tigers.God gave me the ability to play ball, he said. Made a pretty good living. We didnt make a lot of money, but it was a lot of fun.The game has changed a lot since then, needless to say.Theyve got better equipment, and theyre staying healthy because theyre making big money. Equipment is so much different than we used to have, he said. We used to have to buy our glove and shoes. We have to buy it. Now, they give them 25 pairs of shoes. Its like everything else. It changes. For the better, of course.---Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister Womens Air Max 2018 Shoe . 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BEREA, Ohio -- New England Patriots defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard represents one in a series of frustrating decisions by the Cleveland Browns the past few years, perennial Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said Wednesday.Thomas compared the departure of young veterans like Sheard to gutting the teams middle class.Certainly thats one of the frustrations that Ive had over the years, Thomas said Wednesday. Thats the problem when youre constantly hitting the reset button. Guys that are really good players like that end up falling through the cracks or going to other teams because any time a new staff comes in basically they wipe out the middle class.They keep a couple of your superstars and then they want everyone else being a rookie so that they can try to develop them. When you keep doing that over and over again you really lose all your middle class on your team.The Browns roster that will face New England includes 17 rookies and four first-year players.Sheards tale seems to represent an entire group. New coaches and general managers come in and tend to dismiss the players signed or drafted by other coaches and GMs. Often, those players are allowed to depart.Sheard was drafted in the second round by the Browns when Tom Heckert was GM in 2011. He left via free agency in 2015 when Ray Farmer was GM. Sheard spent four years in Cleveland and played through an injury in 2014, but the Browns made no effort to re-sign him.New England and Bill Belichick signed Sheard the second day of free agency, and Belichick has raved about him since.A good kid, works hard, smart, very physically strong for his size, with good instincts, good awareness, Belichick said on a conference call with the Cleveland media. Hes a good football player.Thomas frustrations are understandable, especially when you look at the Browns defense, which will face the most experienced QB in the NFL Sunday in Tom Brady. The Browns have the youngest defense in the league, returneed the fewest snaps from last season, and is playing the most rookies.ddddddddddddThomas rattled off several names of players drafted by the Browns who left, either by being released or in free agency: Sheard, cornerback Buster Skrine (free agent to the Jets), linebacker DQwell Jackson (released and signed with the Colts), tight end Jordan Cameron (free agent to the Dolphins) and receiver Travis Benjamin (free agent to the Chargers).He could have added offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (free agent to the Chiefs) and free safety Tashaun Gipson (free agent to the Jaguars). Schwartz, Gipson, Benjamin and center Alex Mack all signed elsewhere on the first day of free agency in 2016.Safety T.J. Ward is another excellent example. The Browns signed Donte Whitner instead of keeping Ward. Whitner played his last season for the Browns in 2015, the same season Ward was helping the Broncos win a Super Bowl.Thomas said the situation is exacerbated when players who are drafted by the Browns leave after their first contract.Those are the guys, they disappear, Thomas said. Even though those are the guys you spent the time, you drafted them, spent the time developing them and right when theyre hitting stride, the peaks of their career, they end up going somewhere else and having great success for somebody else.Since he was drafted in 2007, Thomas has played for six coaches. He is on his seventh general manager. He has played every down since he was drafted and been to the Pro Bowl every season hes been in the league.Its always my job to do whatever I can to try to help my team win, Thomas said, and Ive always kind of been focused on doing my job to the best of my ability. 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