The three things that the Chicago Cubs are most famous for: the ivy-covered wall of Wrigley Field, longtime play-by-play man Harry Carey, and the supposed “curse” that has kept them from winning a World Series in more than 100 years.
The Chicago Cubs are in the Major League Baseball playoffs, having won first place in the National League’s Central Division and winning more than 100 games for the first time since 1935. But will all that be enough to beat the curse that has supposedly plagued the team for 70 years.
Billy Sianis owned a popular Chicago bar called the Billy Goat Tavern. He was a huge Cubs fan, and in 1945 he was lucky enough to score tickets to Game 4 of the World Series at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field. For some reason, he decided to bring to the game Murphy, his pet billy goat. (Sianis really liked goats, it would seem.) But Murphy smelled so bad that other fans sitting near him complained. Wrigley staff threw him out of the stands, which made Sianis so mad he reportedly shouted, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” Over the years, that outburst has been taken to be a “curse” against the Cubs ever winning a Major League Baseball championship. (Some contemporary accounts say that Sianis and Murphy were actually turned away at the gate.) Going into that Game 4, the Cubs were up two games to one over the Detroit Tigers. The team ended up losing the World Series four games to three. That year was the last time the Cubs made it to the championship round.
While curses probably aren’t real, it is eerie that every time since 1945 that the Cubs have gotten close to a championship, it’s almost inexplicably gone wrong. Here are just a few examples:
The Cubs end the regular season at 96-65, the best record in the National League. Slugger Ryne Sandberg is named Most Valuable Player, pitcher Rick Sutcliffe wins the Cy Young Award, and Jim Frey is named Manager of the Year. Nevertheless, the Cubs lose the National League Championship Series to the San Diego Padres.
Despite the abilities of Rookie of the Year Jerome Watson, the 93-69 Cubs lose the National League Championship Series in five games to the San Francisco Giants.
Sammy Sosa hits more than 70 home runs, is named Most Valuable Player, and leads the Cubs…to being swept out of the playoffs by the Atlanta Braves.
In Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in the top of eighth inning, the home-team Cubs have a 3-0 lead over the Florida Marlins. The Marlins’ Luis Castillo then hits a ball toward left field that looks to be an easy catch for the Cubs’ Moises Alou. Instead, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reaches out for the ball, and it bounces off his hands and into the grandstands. It’s ruled a foul instead…and then the Marlins go on to score eight runs and win the game. The Marlins then win Game 7, and then the World Series, too. Fun fact: In the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2003 was “The Year of the Goat.”