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Curse of the Billy Goat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Curse of the Billy Goat was a sports-related curse that was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in 1945, by Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis. The curse lasted 71 years, from 1945 to 2016. Because the odor of his pet goat, named Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home ballpark, during game 4 of the 1945 World Series.[1][2] Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which had been interpreted to mean that the Cubs would never win another National League (NL) pennant, at least for the remainder of Sianis's life.

The Cubs lost the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers, and did not win a World Series championship again until 2016. The Cubs had last won the World Series in 1908. After the incident with Sianis and Murphy, the Cubs did not play in the World Series for the next 71 years until, on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis's death,[3] the "curse" was broken when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–0 in game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series to win the NL pennant.[4] The Cubs then defeated the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians 8–7 in 10 innings in game 7 to win the 2016 World Series, 108 years after their last win.[5]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ The True Story Behind The Chicago Cubs Curse
  • ✪ Curse of the Billy Goat
  • ✪ The Steve Bartman incident
  • ✪ No, Cubs, No - Steve Bartman and the Billy Goat Band
  • ✪ Move Over, Ya Billy Goat! Top 6 2016 World Series Game 7 Highlights


- Alright Chicago Cubs for one, I do not believe are cursed. But there is a lot of evidence if you are a kind of person who believes in curses to support your opinion that they might be. I'll tell you a little bit about the Curse of the Billy Goat which is the supposed curse on the Chicago Cubs. There was a tavern owner, named William Sianis. He owned this place called The Lincoln Tavern. There was a truck that drove by a goat falls off the truck and wanders into his tavern. Well he loved this thing so much. He named it Murphy, he was his pet it was like his best friend. He loved it so much he changed the name of the tavern to The Billy Goat Tavern. So William Sianis was this huge Cub fan and he wanted to bring the goat to a World Series game in 1945. He even bought it a ticket. P.K. Wrigley, the guy who owned the Cubs at the time looks down and he sees this guy trying to bring a barn animal into a baseball game and he says tell that guy to get the goat out of here, the goat stinks. An usher goes down, stops William Sianis and the goat and he says that you got to get that goat out of here Mr. Wrigley says it stinks. William Sianis says to the guy it's not my goat that stinks, it's the Cubs that stink and they're never gonna win anything I put a curse on the Cubs. The Cubs lose the series against the Detroit Tigers and they don't go for another 71 years. 1969, Cubs are best team in baseball. Looks like they're gonna go all the way. They go to Shea Stadium to face the New York Mets for a two game series in September. The Captain of the team Ron Santo, third baseman known for clicking his heels when they win standing in the on deck circle ready to bat and a black cat comes out of nowhere and runs across his legs and into the Cubs dugout. Cubs lose that series and they go on to lose eight straight and tank. Now 1984, we play a five game series for the National League Championship Series against San Diego Padres. The last game of that series, they're ahead of the San Diego Padres going into the last inning. While they were about to run out onto the field somebody knocks the Gatorade jug over and it lands on Leon Durham, the first baseman's mitt and it gets it all wet. So Leon Durham goes into the field with this wet mitt and a ball comes his way, he's playing first base and it's an easy out, should've been a bang bang play. He misses it, it goes right through his legs. So 2003, which also happens to be the Chinese Year of the Goat. We were five outs away from going to the World Series. Five outs away and the Bartman Incident happens. Mark Prior's on the hill, hits a foul ball and a bunch of fans go for it. At the same time, the outfielder Moises Alou the left fielder, he's going up for it and the fans reach over and he's there. I mean it's a foul ball, it's not a big deal. It should've been, that should've been it. But Moises Alou, the ball falls away the fans grab it and the TV keeps panning to this guy. This little lonely dude named Steve Bartman sitting there. He wasn't the only fan going for the ball, you know. And they say basically well this guy did it. You know, this guy, because the next play what happens is it's a ground ball, simple routine ground ball to Alex Gonzalez, the shortstop and he bobbles it. Now everybody starts thinking it's this guy if he only didn't change our luck. They literally turned Steve Bartman into a scapegoat. Last year we're in the Playoffs we hit the Mets again, the dreaded Mets. They have this player that just start light up on us. That guy's name was Daniel Murphy. The goat's name was Murphy so it's all those little parallels. If you connect the dots yeah, you can craft this amazing story of a curse. Flash forward to 2016, we're looking to the future. I think the culture of the fans, management, the ownership has put the past in the past. They're doing a great job of looking forward whether you believe in curses or not, we're built to win. And I mean, as a Cub fan that's such a special thing for me to think that I'll get to see more of this.


Origins of the curse

The exact nature of Sianis's curse differs in various accounts of the incident. Some state that he declared that no World Series games would ever again be played at Wrigley Field, while others believe that his ban was on the Cubs appearing in the World Series, making no mention of a specific venue. Sianis’s family claims that he dispatched a telegram to team owner Philip K. Wrigley which read, “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.”[6][7]

Whatever the truth, the Cubs were up two games to one in the 1945 World Series, but ended up losing Game 4, as well as the best-of-seven series, four games to three. The curse was immortalized in newspaper columns over the years, particularly by syndicated columnist Mike Royko. The curse gained widespread attention during the 2003 postseason, when Fox television commentators played it up during the Cubs-Marlins matchup in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).[8] According to an account in the Chicago Sun of October 7, 1945, the goat was turned away at the gate, and Sianis left the goat tied to a stake in a parking lot and went into the game alone. There was mention of a lawsuit that day, but no mention of a curse.

Between that 1908 triumph, which was the Cubs' second world championship (they'd also won the Series in 1907 to become baseball's first back-to-back winners as well as the first franchise to appear in three consecutive World Series), and 1945, the first year of the alleged Billy Goat curse, the Cubs won the National League pennant six times but failed to win the Series: in 1910, in 1918 (won by the Boston Red Sox who themselves would soon become victims of an alleged baseball curse and not win another Series for 86 years), in 1929, in 1932 (known for Babe Ruth's called shot at Wrigley Field), in 1935 (a re-match of the 1908 series against the Detroit Tigers, with the Tigers winning this time, their first Series triumph in five appearances dating back to the early 1900s), and in 1938.

Alleged curse incidents

On September 9, 1969, at Shea Stadium, the Cubs played the New York Mets in a critical pennant race game. A stray black cat walked between Cubs captain Ron Santo, who was on deck, and the Cubs dugout. The Mets would pull ahead of the Cubs in that series and eventually win both the newly formed NL East and the 1969 World Series.[9]

In 1984, the Cubs’ postseason appearance was dashed by the San Diego Padres. The Cubs were victorious in the first two games of the best-of-five series. However, in game five, first baseman Leon Durham let a ground ball get past his allegedly wet glove in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Padres went on to score four runs to win the game and the series.[10]

In 1989, the Cubs won 93 games and faced the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, now a best-of-seven series. After splitting the first two games at home, the Cubs headed to the Bay Area, where despite holding a lead at some point in each of the next three games, bullpen meltdowns and managerial blunders ultimately led to three straight losses.

In 1998, behind NL MVP Sammy Sosa, the Cubs won the Wild Card after winning a tiebreaker game versus the Giants. However, they were swept in the National League Division Series by the Atlanta Braves.

On October 14, 2003, in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a three games to two lead in the best of seven series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning their first National League pennant since 1945. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning and losing the game, 8–3. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the incident was seen as the "first domino" in the turning point of the series.[11]

The Cubs won their division in both 2007 and 2008, but were swept in the NLDS both years by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively.

In 2015, the Cubs finished second in the National League Wild Card race and defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS to advance to the NLCS against the New York Mets. However, the Cubs batted an NLCS record low of .164 and lost the series in a 4-game sweep. (The Cubs thus became the first team ever to get swept in a playoff series by a team they swept in their regular season series.)

Sianis's goat was named Murphy. In the 2015 National League Championship Series, this was referenced by fans of the New York Mets, who joked that Daniel Murphy, the Mets second baseman and  series MVP, was "not the first GOAT (Greatest of All Time, in reference to Murphy's postseason heroics to that point) named Murphy to keep the Cubs out of the World Series".[12]

Attempts to break the curse

Prior to his death on October 22, 1970, Billy Sianis himself attempted to lift the curse. Sam Sianis, his nephew, has gone to Wrigley Field with a goat multiple times in attempts to break the curse, including on Opening Day in 1984 and again in 1989, both years in which the Cubs went on to win their division. In 1994, Sam Sianis went again, with a goat, to stop a home losing streak, and in 1998 for the Wild Card tie-breaker game, which the Cubs won.[13]

In 2003 (the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Goat), a group of Cubs fans headed to Houston with a billy goat named "Virgil Homer" and attempted to gain entrance to Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, division rivals of the Cubs at the time.[14] After they were denied entrance, they unfurled a scroll, read a verse and proclaimed they were "reversing the curse". The Cubs won the division that year and then came within five outs of playing in the World Series, but were undone by the Florida Marlins' eight-run rally immediately following the Steve Bartman incident. The Cubs then lost the following game and with it the series. (The Marlins went on to win the World Series against the New York Yankees.) Further salting the wound, the Astros earned their first World Series berth two years later and their crosstown rival the Chicago White Sox won the series.

On February 26, 2004, at the Harry Caray Restaurant in downtown Chicago, the Bartman baseball was electrocuted in an attempt to break the curse, leaving nothing but a heap of string behind.

In another bizarre twist, it was reported that a butchered goat was hung from the Harry Caray statue on October 3, 2007, to which The Chicago Sun-Times noted: "If the prankster intended to reverse the supposed billy goat curse with the stunt, it doesn't appear to have worked."[15] While the Cubs did win the NL Central division title in 2007 and 2008, they were swept in the first round of the postseason in both years: by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008. The elimination by Arizona came on October 6, the same date that the goat appeared at Wrigley Field in 1945.[16] The act was repeated before the home opener in 2009, this time a goat's butchered head being hung from the statue. The act was futile as the Cubs were eliminated from postseason contention on September 26, 2009.[17]

In 2008, a Greek Orthodox priest sought to end the curse during the 2008 playoffs with a spraying of holy water in and around the Cubs dugout to no avail.[18]

On April 1, 2011, a social enterprise called Reverse The Curse, dedicated to bringing innovations to poverty by giving goats to families in developing countries, was initiated.[19] The goats provide the family with milk, cheese, and alternative income to help lift them out of poverty. Reverse The Curse has expanded into reversing the "curses" that afflict the world's children in education and obesity.

On February 25, 2012, a group of five Chicago Cubs fans calling themselves Crack the Curse set out on foot from Mesa, Arizona (home to the Cubs' spring training facilities) to Wrigley Field. They brought along a goat named Wrigley whom they believed would be able to break the Curse of the Billy Goat upon arrival at Wrigley Field. Additionally, they attempted to raise $100,000 for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.[20]

On April 10, 2013, a severed goat's head was delivered to the Cubs in a possible effort to lift the curse on the team. It was addressed to the club's owner Thomas S. Ricketts.[21]

On September 22, 2015, Patrick Bertoletti, Tim Brown, Takeru Kobayashi, Kevin Strahle and Bob Shoudt consumed a 40-pound goat in 13 minutes and 22 seconds at Taco in a Bag restaurant in Chicago.[22]

On October 7, 2016, the owners of The Chicago Diner, a local vegetarian eatery near Wrigley Field, teamed up with Farm Sanctuary to try to reverse the Curse of the Billy Goat by displaying posters in the windows at their locations. The posters feature a goat named Peanut who urges Chicagoans to “reverse the curse” by going meat-free.[23]

Former Cubs who won a World Series title elsewhere

Another factor that may have played a role in the curse was the number of players (41 of them are listed below) who won World Series titles after leaving the Cubs (known as the Ex-Cubs Factor). These players include Andy Pafko (who, coincidentally, played in the 1945 World Series as a member of the Cubs), Gene Baker, Smoky Burgess, Don Hoak, Dale Long, Lou Brock (whose first title was in 1964 after a mid-season trade to the St. Louis Cardinals), Lou Johnson, Jim Brewer, Moe Drabowsky, Don Cardwell, Ken Holtzman, Billy North, Fred Norman, Bill Madlock, Manny Trillo, Greg Gross, Rick Monday, Burt Hooton, Bruce Sutter, Willie Hernández, Milt Wilcox, Joe Niekro, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Carter, Greg Maddux, Dwight Smith, Joe Girardi (as both a player and a manager), José Vizcaíno, Glenallen Hill (after his second stint with the Cubs; his title came in 2000 after a mid-season trade), Luis Gonzalez, Mike Morgan, Mark Grace, Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, Scott Eyre (whose title came in 2008 after he had been traded from the Cubs during the season), Tom Gordon, Matt Stairs, Jamie Moyer, Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Ángel Pagán, and, in 2013, Ryan Dempster. Dontrelle Willis and Jon Garland were traded as minor leaguers (coincidentally, the former won a World Series ring with the Marlins team that defeated the Cubs in the 2003 NLCS). Tim Lincecum, who went on to win three World Series titles, was originally drafted by the Cubs, but he did not sign with them.[24]

End of the curse

The Cubs ended the 2016 season with a 103–58 (.640) record. It was their first 100-win season since 1935 (100–54, .649), their best since 1910 (104–50, .675), and the sixth 100-win season in franchise history.

The Cubs won the National League Championship Series (NLCS), their first pennant in 71 years, with a 5–0 shutout in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016; the "curse" was broken on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis's death.[3][4]

The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians play Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in Cleveland on November 2, 2016. The Cubs won, ending their 108-year drought.
The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians play Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in Cleveland on November 2, 2016. The Cubs won, ending their 108-year drought.
Cubs fan sign before Game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series
Cubs fan sign before Game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series

In 2016, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, ending the 108-year drought.

The Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series in seven games after trailing in the series 3 games to 1. They won game 7 by a score of 8–7 in 10 innings at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.[5]

See also

Cookies for sale in Chicago during the 2016 season
Cookies for sale in Chicago during the 2016 season


  1. ^ Ferraro, Michael X.; Veneziano, John (2007). Numbelivable!. Chicago, Illinois: Triumph Books. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0.
  2. ^ Newman, Mark (February 19, 2015). "Will the Cubs break the Curse of the Billy Goat in the 'Year of the Goat?'". MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Celebrity Deaths: William Sianis and the Curse of the Billy Goat". Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Gurnick, Ken; Muskat, Carrie (October 23, 2016). "Wait of the World: Cubs win NL pennant!". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bastian, Jordan; Muskat, Carrie (November 2, 2016). "Cubs are heavy wait champions!". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Adam Selzer (1 July 2014). Chronicles of Old Chicago: Exploring the History and Lore of the Windy City. Museyon Inc. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-9846334-8-7.
  7. ^ Avila, Michael (September 2, 2010). "Are the Chicago Cubs Really Cursed?". LiveScience. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Major League Baseball on Fox: Game 6 of 2003 National League Championship Series (television). Fox Sports. October 14, 2003.
  9. ^ "On Friday the 13th, let's revisit the Cubs' 'Black Cat Game'". MLB Advanced Media. May 13, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016. Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  10. ^ Mitchell, Fred (May 4, 2012). "Durham doesn't think much of error in '84 playoffs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Baseball fan feels Chicago's fury". BBC News. October 17, 2003. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  12. ^ Berg, Ted (October 18, 2015). "The Cubs' infamously exiled billy goat was also named 'Murphy'". USA Today. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Billy Goat Curse". The World-Famous Billy Goat Tavern. August 14, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  14. ^ "Woe is us ; A look at the curses". USA Today. October 16, 2004. p. C2.
  15. ^ Toomey, Shamus (October 6, 2007). "Dead goat hung from Harry statue". Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. ^ Svrluga, Barry (October 7, 2007). "Castilla Back With Rockies In New Role". Washington Post. p. D6.
  17. ^ Sullivan, Paul (September 27, 2009). "CUBS 6, GIANTS 2; Eliminating the negative; Late hot streak minus Bradley is positive, but Cards clinch anyway". Chicago Tribune. p. 9.
  18. ^ Priest Blesses Chicago Cubs Dugout With Holy Water. YouTube. 20 January 2009.
  19. ^ "Reverse the Curse". Reverse The Curse Chicago. August 14, 2015. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite web requires |website= (help)
  20. ^ Smith, Stephen (May 29, 2012). "Cubs fans and goat walk from Ariz. to Chicago to crack the team's curse". CBS News. Retrieved May 1, 2018. Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  21. ^ Brumfield, Ben (April 11, 2013). "Severed goat's head at Wrigley Field mirrors curse on Chicago Cubs". CNN. Retrieved October 26, 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  22. ^ Fox News (September 24, 2015). "Competitive eaters devour goat meat to break Cubs. However at the end the New York Mets beat the Cubs and loss the NL championship in 2015 (which later the Kansas City Royals win the World seeies of 2015.curse". New York Post. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  23. ^ "Chicago Diner Teams Up With Farm Sanctuary to Reverse the Curse of the Billy Goat". (Press release). October 7, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  24. ^ "2003 First-Year Player Draft Tracker". MLB Advanced Media, LP. June 4, 2003. Retrieved August 14, 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)

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