You might have noticed that I’m beside myself with excitement about the Chicago Cubs in the World Series this year! The first game is tonight against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland. They have home field advantage because they’re the American League team and the American League won the All-Star game this summer. Chicago media have been covering every aspect of the team and I’ve always enjoyed the story of the Billy Goat curse so I thought I’d share it with you.
Unless you’re from the Chicago area or a real baseball aficionado, you may not know about the supposed curse on the baseball team that dates back to 1945. A local tavern owner named William Sianis was the man who allegedly placed the curse on the Cubs.
A Greek immigrant who bought the old Lincoln Tavern, which is now the site of Chicago’s United Center, Sianis was working one day when a baby goat fell from a truck in front of his establishment. He rescued the animal, nursed the goat back to health, named his pet Murphy and became so fond of the animal that he grew a goatee and renamed his place the Billy Goat Inn, now called Billy Goat Tavern. You may remember an early SNL sketch about “cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger. No Coke, Pepsi,” that starred John Belushi and Bill Murray and was based on the Chicago comedians’ visits to the Billy Goat.
I’ve heard a few different versions of what happened that fall of 1945. One story is that because the smell of his pet goat, Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ park, during game four of the 1945 World Series. (Apparently one could bring a pet goat into the ballpark back in the 40s.)
Another version says that Billy Sianis wanted to share his live good luck charm with the Cubs and brought him to the ballpark where he was promptly turned away by security, even though he’d bought two box seats, one for him and one for the goat!
Sianis was outraged and allegedly declared “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” which either meant the Cubs wouldn’t win another National League Pennant or else that they would never again play in a World Series. Other stories say that Billy said the Cubs would never
win another series and that he even sent a telegram to Cubs owner Phillip K. Wrigley stating just that the following day.
Regardless, we know the Cubs lost that 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers, and have not won a World Series championship since 1908. After the incident with Billy Sianis and Murphy the goat, they haven’t even played in a World Series for 71 years. But this October 22, 2016, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the 2016 World Series after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis’ death. Coincidence? I think not… 😉
Meme from Facebook