In the sport of baseball, where superstition heavily influences players and the game, there is this famous Billy Goat Curse, a curse so devastating that it robbed the Chicago Cubs of a lot of potential success. For this Halloween Special brought by OKBet, we will talk about the man who placed the curse—William “Billy Goat” Sianis.
If you are wondering how long did the Cubs curse last? Over seven painful decades.
So who was this man, you ask? He is Sianis, or Billy Goat, a Greek. He was the owner of a tavern with the same moniker.
The man was an avid fan of the Cubs, who, from 1876 until the year the curse was placed, were having a successful baseball season. At one point, they posted a 5475-4324 (.559) record, with 51 winning seasons. The Chicago Cubs were also a dominant force back then, finishing first place 16 times, garnering 16 pennants, and, most importantly, appearing multiple times in the World Series.
They were a force to be reckoned with, capturing pennants in 1910 and 1918. The Cubs captured four pennants in 1929, 1932, 1935, and 1938 in ten years.
But one mistake from the officials and the owner at Wrigley Field was the root of the demise that befell the Cubs.
The Day the Curse of Billy the Goat was Born
It all happened on October 6, 1945, at the Wrigley Field. The Cubs, as usual, were a contender for the World Series. They were facing the Detroit Tigers, and with the series 2-1 in favor of Chicago, the team only needed one more win to become champions.
So, like an avid fan, Sianis went to see his favorite team in action. This time, however, he brought Murphy to give the club an extra bit of luck, only that Murphy was his pet goat.
However, upon reaching the entrance of the stadium, Sianis was barred from entering because he brought an animal. Frustrated, he tried voicing out his concern to the Cubs’ owner, P.K. Wrigley.
His frustration turned into sheer disappointment and anger as Wrigley allegedly replied, “Let Billy in, but not the goat,” because the “goat stinks.”
With the hurtful words that came from the owner of the club he adored and supported, Sianis exclaimed this:
“The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.”
Coincidental it may be, but Chicago went down in Game 4. They also got swept—a dominant team—on their home turf and from the World Series, voiding them of that championship title.
Chicago Cubs’ Downfall
After hearing the news that the Chicago Cubs got swept in the World Series, Sianis sent a telegram to Wrigley that says:
“Who stinks now?”
Since then, the Cubs have never reached the World Series. They would always end up in fifth place or lower.
Due to their poor performance and the World Series always eluding them, the team became the “Loveable Losers” and changed their motto into “Wait ‘til next year.” They only put up a 4250-4874 (.466) record and had 15 winning seasons with three first-place finishes. The Cubs also had no pennants and never qualified for the Series.
Also, one of the many examples of the Billy Goat curse on the Cubs was that of the Steve Bartman incident, which single-handedly cost an important game.
The Attempts and a Befitting End
So, how did the Cubs break the curse?
Well, there were attempts to break it, especially since Sainis lifted the curse before his passing on October 22, 1970. Although the one who placed the curse healed, his goat didn’t.
William’s nephew, Sam, tried appeasing the curse by bringing a goat to Wrigley. With the help of Tribune columnist Dave Condon, they were escorted in a white limousine and were given a red carpet while walking to the park’s entrance.
Another instance was in 2003, when a group of Cubs fans attempted to break the Billy the Goat curse by bringing Virgil Homer, a goat, into one of the games. Although denied entry, the group seemed to alleviate the wrath of Murphy the Goat since Chicago nearly qualified for the World Series, if not only for the Florida Marlins’ eight-run rally and without Bartman’s interference.
It was in 2016 when the curse was completely lifted. The Cubs finished the season with an impressive performance of 103-48 (.640). They also had their first 100 wins since 1935, marking their sixth 100-win season in franchise history.
Chicago then won their first pennant by dominating the National League Championship Series (NLCS). In Game 6, they shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field, 5-0.
Coincidentally, the win also earmarked Sainis’ 46th death anniversary.
The Cubs finally won their first-ever World Series 108 years later by ousting the Cleveland Indians in seven games. They won with a score of 8-7 in 10 innings.