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The Curse of the Billy Goat is a curse that is believed to prevent the Chicago Cubs from winning the National League pennant and the World Series. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908 and the National League pennant since 1945 and this is attributed to the curse by believers.
How Did the Curse of the Billy Goat Begin?
The curse is believed to have been placed on the team by Billy Sianis, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern during game 3 of the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Tigers in 1945. Sianis was outraged that he had been ordered to leave the ballpark with his billy goat because fans were complaining about the pet’s stench. He declared that the Cubs would not win trophies anymore. Members of the Sianis family claim that after the incident at Wrigley Field, Sianis sent a telegraph Cubs owner Philip Wrigley in which he said that the team was never going to win the World Series again because they had mistreated his goat.
Effects of the Curse of the Billy Goat
The exact nature of the Curse of the Billy Goat is not exactly known. In some quarters, it is said that Sianis banned the World Series from being played at Wrigley field while others believe that his curse prevented the Cubs from appearing in the World Series at any stadium. When the curse was placed, the Cubs were 2-1 up in the World Series against the Tigers but they ended up losing the series four games to three and haven’t won another since. It took over 50 years for the Curse of the Billy Goat to get widespread notice through various reports in newspapers and the hype by Fox TV commentators during the 2003 NLCS match-up against the Marlins.
In 1969, one year before he passed away, Sianis declared that all was forgiven but and that the curse was lifted. However the curse would continue for at least one more year as the Cubs relinquished the league pennant to the New York Mets despite leading the league by mid-August. This would become a pattern in the coming years. In 1973, in an attempt to undo the curse, Sam Sianis, the nephew to Billy brought a descendant of Murphy to Wrigley Field in an attempt to break the curse. The goat was brought to the stadium in a white limousine but it was denied entry.
At that point the Cubs held a mid-season lead in the league but it withered away to culminate in another futile season. In 1984, with the Cubs under new ownership, Sam finally walked the goat on the Wrigley Field grass in another attempt to break the curse. The Cubs won their first division title and made their first post season in forty years. In the National League Championship Series game against the San Diego Padres, Sam and his goat were to go along with the team to San Diego to ensure they won one more game to win the series but he was left behind inadvertently.
The Cubs lost the next three games in the series which kept the curse running. In 1989, a repeat of the 1984 scenario where Sam and the goat were left behind in post season came to be and a second division title in five years failed to yield a World Series win as the Cubs lost to the Giants in post season.
In 1994, the Cubs lost the first twelve games in a row, their worst start in history. Another attempt to break the curse was instigated but again the goat was denied entry to Wrigley Field. After chants by fans demanding the goat to be let in started ringing out, Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks intervened and escorted the goat on to the pitch. The game ended 5-2 in favor of the Cubs.
In 1998, the Cubs were playing in the Wild Card game and won in the presence of Sam and his goat but in the post season the goat was absent from the game against the Atlanta Braves. They got swept in four straight games. In 2003, the Cubs needed the goat to be sent out to Houston in order to help the Cubs edge the Houston Astros for their first division title in fourteen years.
They went on to beat the Atlanta Braves for their first postseason series win in 100 years. With the goat out of the picture in the next round they were vanquished by the Marlins to douse their dreams of winning the World Series. The Curse of the Billy Goat continues to haunt the Cubs to this date, with the club continuing to be one of the most inept teams in the league.