The peculiarities of baseball and much of my enjoyment of the game is due to the oddity of the superstitions revolving around it. Most members of my immediate family don’t really follow any baseball teams, nor for that matter, any sport at all aside from a passing interest in Cornhusker football. The only family member who, as I remember it, followed a team, was my maternal grandpa. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs.
One summer, my siblings and I spent a few weeks on grandpa’s and grandma’s farm. I tagged along while grandpa worked his round of chores. (I probably was more of a nuisance than a help.) One very hot afternoon, he hurried through his work so he could watch a baseball game on teevee. As grandpa worked, he told me about how his favorite team has not won a National League Pennant, nor a World Series because of the Curse of the Billy Goat.
William Sianis, the owner of a bar across the street from Wrigley Field, adopted a billy goat that had fallen from a truck in front of his business. Sianis soon named the goat “Murphy” and renamed his tavern, “The Billy Goat Inn”.
The most popular account of the curse claims that Sianis bought two tickets for the fourth game of the World Series featuring the Cubs against the Detroit Tigers being played at Wrigley Field. One ticket was for “Billy Goat” Sianis himself, and the other for the goat “Murphy”.
The Cubs were favorites to win the Series because the Chicago team had 50 years of Pennant victories and had appeared in 15 previous World Series matchups. Just before the first pitch of the game, some fans complained about the stink coming from the billy goat. Wrigley Field officials ejected Sianis and his pet goat from the stands. After the Tigers went on to beat the Cubs, Sianis allegedly telegraphed chewing gum magnate and Cubs owner Philip Wrigley. Sianis wrote, “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.”
The exact wording and timing of the curse remains controversial. Another account claims that the curse was uttered immediately following Sianis’ ejection from the stadium. He was outraged and shouted, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more”. Some people believe that the Cubs will never win a World Series game at the venue. Others believe that the Cubs will never make it to the World Series as long as their home stadium is Wrigley Field.
The fact is, the Chicago Cubs have not won a National League Championship since 1945. And, so far, they have not won a World Series in 105 years. This is the most forlorn history in all of professional baseball.
The Blue Jay of Happiness notes that his own team, the Giants, beat their own curse in 2010 and again, last year.