April 12, 1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage, brought on by the high blood pressure and heart disease that came from 12 years of fighting the Great Depression, Nazi fascism and Japanese imperialism. He was 63 years old.
Death came to him at 3:35 PM at his "Southern White House" he had built at Warm Springs, Georgia, at the health spa where he had once tried in vain to recover from the effects of polio. At 7:09 PM, Vice President Harry S Truman was sworn in as President.
The new President, his wife Bess, their daughter Margaret
FDR's death plunged the nation into mourning, the kind unseen since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at the close of the Aerican Civil War, 80 years earlier. V-E Day, Victory in Europe, would come 26 days later; V-J Day, Victory in Japan and the end of World War II, 124 days after his death.
FDR died on a Thursday. The Major League Baseball season was scheduled to begin the following Monday, April 16. That was the day set for his funeral, so Opening Day was pushed back a day. There were no games scheduled for April 12, anyway. Nor was the NFL scheduled to play: This was during the off-season. And there was, as yet, no NBA: It wouldn't begin play for another year and a half.
Indeed, there was only 1 game in all of major league sports that day. It was Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 1-0, on a goal by Gus Bodnar. The Leafs took a 3-games-to-none lead.
The Wings won the next 3, and set up the reverse of the 1942 Finals, when the Wings won the 1st 3, and the Leafs took the next 4, the 1st time a 3-0 deficit had ever been overcome in any postseason series in any sport. But the Leafs won Game 7 on April 22, to prevent a full reverse.
The 1944-45 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Note the narrower Cup, in use until 1947;
and the British, rather than Canadian, flags.
With the manpower drain from World War II still in effect, professional sports wouldn't really recover until the following Spring and baseball's Opening Day.