The Curse of the Billy Goat Curses the Chicago Cubs

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A Brief History

On October 6, 1945, Billy Sianis and his pet billy goat were ejected from Chicago’s Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series thereby (allegedly) cursing the Chicago Cubs for at least the next sixty years!  Thus, one of the greatest of sports curses was born.

Digging Deeper

First off, while those in Chicago are probably more apt to be familiar with this story than our many followers from outside of Chicago, please dear non-Chicagoans rest assured that we are not making up this entry in our daily reporting on cracked events in world history!

The story goes as follows: a Greek immigrant to the United States named William Sianis (c. 1895 – October 22, 1970) founded a still in existence chain of taverns called The Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, Illinois in 1934.  A fan of his city’s baseball team, the Cubs, he bought two tickets for a ball game taking place on October 6, 1945 worth $7.20.  While one of the tickets was for him, the other one was for his goat.  Although he was apparently allowed to parade along with the goat on the baseball field before the game started, with the goat wearing a sign declaring, “we Got Detroit’s Goat,” during the actual game, Sianis and his goat were asked to leave due to the goat’s odor bothering other fans.

The enraged Greek-American lashed out at the Cubs for this insult by declaring, “them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” and purportedly even sending a telegram directly to the team’s owner threatening, “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.”

Whether the curse is the cause or not of the team’s subsequent struggles, the reality remains that the Cubs had neither won a World Series nor even a National League pennant since Sianis’s declarations over fifty years ago, but the curse seems to have lifted, as the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, ending their long drought and putting the “curse” to rest.  Unfortunately for the Indians, the Cleveland ball club is now the longest suffering team, not having won a World Series since 1948!  Adding insult to injury, the Cubs came back from a daunting 3-1 deficit in games won, and finished off their magical quest by winning Game 7 in the 10th inning, the only extra inning World Series Game 7 to date.

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you believe any curses to have had actual supernatural consequences?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For a quick web read detailing this bizarre story, please visit the Billy Goat Tavern’s official website at http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/curse/ which provides a rather detailed history of the curse and its consequences. Authors have also actually written a number of full length books on the topic: Steve Gatto, Da Curse of the Billy Goat, The Chicago Cubs, Pennant Races, and Curses (Protar House, LLC, 2004); Rick Kogan, A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream. (Lake Claremont Press, 2006); and Gil Bogen, The Billy Goat Curse: Losing and Superstition in Cubs Baseball Since World War 2 (McFarland, 2008).  Yes, multiple authors have indeed written well over one hundred pages on this topic!

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Erik Drost on Flickr of Cleveland Indians fans who brought goats to Progressive Field before 2016 World Series Game 1, in hopes of continuing the Curse of the Billy Goat, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  This image was originally posted to Flickr by EDrost88 at https://flickr.com/photos/62091376@N03/30602662835. It was reviewed on  by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube.

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About Author

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.