In the 1945 World Series, the Chicago Cubs led the Detroit Tigers two games to one in their best-of-seven contest. But then, on October 6, 1945, the Cubs’ organization offended a pet goat and his owner, and the “Curse of the Billy Goat” was born. The Cubs dropped three of the next four games (losing the series 4-3) and the team has yet to return to the World Series. In fact, the Chicago Cubs hold the dubious honor of having the lengthiest World Series drought in Major League Baseball history.
As legend has it, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, then owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, purchased two tickets to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series-one for himself and the other for his pet goat, Murphy. In gaining entrance to Wrigley Field, Sianis averred that there was no disclaimer on his tickets that prevented him from treating Murphy to the game. Shortly thereafter, however, nearby fans complained that Murphy had an insufferable odor. Upon hearing of the incident, Cubs’ owner, Philip Knight Wrigley, bid ushers to eject Sianis and Murphy from the stadium. Insulted and infuriated, Sianis cursed the Chicago Cubs, exclaiming: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat in not allowed in Wrigley Field.”
The Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 and went on to win the October Classic. At the conclusion of the series, Sianis reportedly sent Philip Knight Wrigley a telegram that read: “Who Smells Now?”
Numerous efforts have been made to break the Curse of the Billy Goat, but all have foundered. Many times, for instance, fans have hung goat effigies in attempts to void the curse. Others have gone so far as to hang a butchered goat from a statue of legendary baseball broadcaster, Harry Caray, believing it would halt the hex. The Cubs organization itself has oft-implored relatives of Billy Sianis to appear at Wrigley Field with a goat in an attempt to reverse the curse. And, to no avail, the Cubs once held a so-called “curse removing press conference” at the Billy Goat Tavern.
According to the current owners of the tavern, the Curse of The Billy Goat can be lifted only if the Chicago Cubs organization demonstrates a heartfelt liking for goats and allows them into Wrigley Field. In their words: “The Chicago Cubs prior to the curse were one of the best teams in baseball, and after the curse have become the ‘Lovable Losers.’ If the Cubs are ever again in a situation, where they are outs away from the World Series, will the goat get the call? For the sake of the Cubs, ‘LET THE GOAT IN!'”
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“Birth of a Chicago Legend,” Our History, Billy Goat Tavern
“Da Curse of the Billy Goat Timeline,” dacurse.com
“Dead Goat Hung at Wrigley Field,” nbcchicago.com