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The Infamous Billy Goat Curse

The Billy Goat Curse is all related to sports. No, it is not about anyone dying. It is all about a misfortune that befell a baseball team.

The story is quite funny, but at the same time, the events were quite cogent, persuasive enough to make you believe that the curse was indeed true.

So, what was the curse all about? Let’s find out…

billy goat curse
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Curse is Cast

The Billy Goat curse or the curse of Billy Goat was spelled out on the famed baseball team – the Chicago Cubs in the year 1945. One great fan of the Chicago Cubs named Billy Sianis went to see the 1945 match between Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Sianis, who owned the Billy Goat Tavern, did not go alone to watch the match. He went there with his pet goat. Unfortunately, the odor of the goat was not really acceptable to the other fans who were there to enjoy the match.

As a result of the goat’s odor, Billy Sianis was asked to leave along with his goat. This infuriated Sianis. The result was that he immediately cursed Chicago Cubs, stating:

 “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”

What Did the Curse Mean?

There are various versions of the curse’s interpretation. Some people say that Sianis actually said that no other World Series games will ever be played at the Wrigley Field.

Some others choose to believe that the curse was cast on the Chicago Cubs, that they will never appear in any World Series game, and that no venue was specifically mentioned.

The family of Sianis, however, says that Sianis actually sent a telegram to Philip K Wrigley – the then owner of the team in which Sianis wrote:

“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.”

There is, however, no proof that Sianis actually sent a telegram.

There is absolutely no way to validate the truth of what had been told and what sense, but one thing that has managed to freak people out is that the curse appeared to be true and effective.

The Billy Goat Curse Strikes

In 1945, Chicago Cubs lost the World Series despite having a lead during the initial stages.

For the next 20 years that followed, i.e., for the time during which Sianis was alive, the Cubs developed a pattern of finishing either at 5th position or lower during each season, and the whole team earned the title ‘The Loveable Losers.’

Winning a World Series became more like a far-fetched dream. The last time the Cubs won a World Series was in 1908.

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The Curse Seemed to be Lifted

In 1969, Billy Sianis (1 year before his death) felt very satisfied and eventually said that the curse was lifted. The Cubs started well with a commanding 1st place lead till mid-August.

However, in a tragic turn of event, Miracle Mets managed to defeat the Chicago Cubs and took the first place and even knocked the Cubs out of contention.

Bad for the Cubs, this, too, became a pattern for several years. The Cubs would start well, take the first place, and eventually get knocked out of contention.

Serious Attempt to Lift the Billy Goat Curse with Socrates

Eventually, in 1973, a whole-hearted attempt was made to lift the curse.

In 1973, Sam Sianis – nephew of Billy Sianis – attempted to lift the curse. With the help of Dave Condon – Tribune columnist, Sam took his goat to Wrigley.

The goat was taken there in a white limousine and was walked through a red carpet, but only to be stopped at the ushers and bam!

The Cubs were tossed out of the first place that they managed to grab by the mid-season.

The goat that Sam brought was named ‘Socrates,’ which was actually a descendent of the goat that belonged to Billy. Billy’s goat was named ‘Murphy.’

In 1984, Sam was allowed to walk on the Wrigley Field to lift the curse. Sam walked the field with Socrates and raised his cap and declared:

‘The curse is lifted.’

The Cubs kept winning and winning and managed to take the first 2 games of the National League Championship series. They were only one win short of entering the World Series.

Socrates was Not Invited

It was expected that Sam and Socrates would be invited to join the team for their next matches, but they weren’t. Result? The Cubs lost and failed to make it to the World Series.

Almost the same thing happened in 1989. Sam and his goat were allowed on the field, and the Cubs kept winning and claimed the second division title in 5 years. In the postseason, the goat was left behind and… well, you know the fate, don’t you?

Then in 1994, the Cubs registered their worst ever home start with 12 consecutive losses.

Socrates Was Called Again

Desperate to end this losing streak, Sam and Socrates were called only to be denied entrance but were eventually allowed in, and the Cubs managed to win the game.

1998 started off well for the Cubs with 89 wins and tied up with San Francisco Giants. The tie-breaker match saw the appearance of Sam and Socrates, and the Cubs won, but in the postseason, the goat was again left behind, and the Cubs queued up on the losing end in postseason games.

2003 – luckily, the goat was invited to Huston, and the Cubs managed to win the first division title in 14 years. In the postseason, they registered their first win in almost a century.

The Billy Goat Curse Hits Again

Then came the National League Series, where the Cubs grabbed a 3-0 lead, requiring only one more win to get into the World Series for the first time in the last 60 years.

Guess what?

Socrates was left behind, and in that crucial and decisive match, the Cubs once again succumbed to the curse.

Another Attempt to Lift the Curse

In 2007, someone hung a butchered goat from Harry Caray statue probably as a stunt to lift the curse, but that did not help.

The Cubs did win the 2007 and 2008 N.L. Central division title but were tossed out in postseason games in both years.

In 2009 a butchered goat head was hung from the same statue, but again the same postseason fate dwindled down upon the Cubs.

In 2013, a butchered goat head was delivered to the Cubs, but in vain, and the Cubs failed to make it to the World Series.

The Curse Was Lifted, Eventually!

In 2016, the Cubs ended the season with a record of 103-58, which was their first 100-win season since 1935. It also turned out to be their best since 1910. It was also their sixth 100-win season in the entire history of the franchise.

The Cubs won the NLCS or National League Championship Series in Game 6 on October 22, 2016. They were pitted against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Billy Goat Curse was eventually broken on Billy Sianis’ 46th death anniversary.

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