Photo of William Sianis and his Billy Goat.

Image Credit: Guano (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a sports world where fans jump aboard and off the bandwagon on a whim, one must give credit to Chicago Cubs fans. Not since 1908 have Cubs fans been able to celebrate a World Series Championship.

Over a century has passed filled with close calls, curses, trades, Steve Bartman and the birth of an iconic announcer. Contrarily, on the South side of Chicago you will find the Chicago White Sox who have since won two World Series. With the third largest fan base in the Major Leagues and a huge payroll, what attributes to the Chicago Cub's lack of success?

Your oldest Cubs fans will be able to tell you about perhaps the second most famous curse in sports, second to the curse of the Bambino; the curse of the billy goat. It dates all the way back to the fourth game of the 1945 World Series when the Cubs were hosting the Detroit Tigers. The story begins with a Greek immigrant named William "Billy" Sianis, owner of Chicago's famous 'Billy Goat Tavern'. Sianis would frequently sneak the goat into public places, often for publicity which would attract customers to his tavern. On October 6th, 1945, Chicago Cubs personnel allowed Sianis and his pet goat "Murphy" to jog onto the field before the game in comedy. Sianis had even purchased a ticket for Murphy. By the fourth inning, fellow Cubs fan had become enraged of the goat's odor that they complained to stadium officials. Billy Sianis and the goat were immediately asked to leave Wrigley Field. 

Photo of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, Illinois.

Image Credit: Tripp - Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

There are many variations in what ensued afterwards. Some say that he cursed the Chicago Cubs and claimed that they would never play in the World Series again. Others say that he said the Cubs would never win another game, period.  The Cubs would eventually go on to lose the World Series to the Tigers. Afterwards, Sianis responded with a telegram to Mr. Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, cursing the Cubs exclaiming "Who Smells Now?" Nearly a year later, Wrigley responded to Sianis with an apology letter asking that Sianis and his goat start rooting for the Cubs again. Sianis, however, was not willing to lift the curse until 1969, some 24 years later.

There have been many attempts over the years to put an end to the curse. Most Cubs fans still insist that the curse still persists. Who could forget the black cat that ran onto the field and stared at Ron Santo in the batter's box in 1969? The Cubs went on to lose the division lead days later to the Philadelphia Phillies. And at the worst possible time; September. Some say the Steve Bartman incident could also be tied to the curse. In 2003 vs. the Florida Marlins, five outs from the World Series, Bartman reached for a foul ball that left-fielder Moises Alou could have easily caught. While the Cubs did have a 3-0 lead during the game, the Marlins rallied to score eight runs and win the game. Was this part of the curse or just a negligent fan that was scapegoated? Chicago Cubs fans can now find 'Billy Goat Taverns' at various locations throughout the city, the original being at 430 N. Michigan Avenue. 



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