As many of you know, the hapless Chicago Cubs baseball team has not won a World Series since 1908, nor have they been to one since 1945. Any true Cubs fan will tell you that there is only one real explanation for this, yes, the curse of the goat.
The curse of the goat revolves around a longtime Cubs fan named William Sianis, a Greek bar owner (his bar was named the Billy Goat Bar) who lived a few blocks from the park. Throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, he became a regular at Wrigley Field, mostly noticeable because he brought with him to every game his pet billy goat. Now, the Chicago Cubs made the World Series in 1945, and President Harry Truman was there at Wrigley for Game 1. Trying to paint a nice picture on the city and the team, Phil Wrigley, the original owner of the Cubs refused to allow Sianis to bring his pet goat into Wrigley Field for the first game of the Series. As he was escorted from the park, Sianis turned around, raised his hand, and put a hex on the Cubs.
Now what exactly the curse was about is a bit murky. He either cursed the team to lose the Series, to lose as long as Phil Wrigley lived, or to lose as long as they played in Wrigley Field. Most fans today believe that it was the third curse, which has caused the team to not return to the World Series in fifty six years.
As amazing as it might seem, many people believe it is true. People have actually performed ritual exorcisms to try and rid Wrigley Field and the Cubs of the curse of the goat. Many, many more fans take it as something of a sarcastic commentary on the continued sorry state of the team and their seeming inability to have any good luck since 1945.
Here is a brief summary of the woes the Chicago Cubs have had since 1945.
- The Chicago Cubs have not returned to the World Series since 1945, a dry spell of 56 years, the longest dry spell by far of any major league baseball team.
- In 1950, after five straight losing years, the Cubs brought a goat onto the field at Wrigley Field, walked him backwards around the bases, and had the goat urinate on home plate. The goat got a urinary tract infection and died less than a month later.
- In 1962, the team had one of the greatest prospects the game has ever seen, second baseman Ken Hubbs. He had one of the best rookie years ever played at second base and the team hoped to build a young nucleus around him throughout the 1960s. Hubbs was confindent enough in the future of the team that after the season, he publicly stated that the curse had been broken. He died in a plane crash after his rookie season.
- In 1965, the Cubs traded their young infielder, Lou Brock, to the St. Louis Cardinals for veteran pitcher Ernie Broglio. Broglio went on to win one more game in the majors. Lou Brock is now in the Hall of Fame.
- In 1969, the Cubs held a seemingly insurmountable lead in their division, but went on one of the worst two week stretches of baseball ever played to close the season, losing the title to the New York Mets. It is one of the biggest chokes of all time.
- In 1984, the Cubs were one pitch away from the World Series with a team that many thought was nearly unstoppable. They proceeded to gaffe that game and then lose the next two to get bounced from the playoffs.
- In 1987, the Cubs outright released reliever Dennis Eckersley, believing him to be all washed up. He went on to be one of the best closers of all time with the Oakland Athletics, helping them to the 1988, 1989, AND 1990 World Series as their closer.
- In 1989 and 1998, the Cubs made the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round of competition.
- The Ex-Cub Factor: simply stated, whichever team is in the World Series that has the most ex-Cubs on their roster will lose the World Series. It has happened virtually every time over the last twenty years.
There are other examples, too, but suffice it to say, the luck of the Cubs has not been good. Is the curse of a Greek barkeep angry at the Chicago Cubs for not allowing his goat in the park the reason? You decide!