The Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat

“You know the law of averages? they say anything will happen that can / but the last time the cubs won the national league pennant / was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan!” – Steve Goodman, 1982. Still correct.*

Every Chicagoan knows the story – in 1945, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern tried to bring a live goat to Wrigley Field. In some versions of the story, the goat was a regular spectator. When the owner was told that he had to get the goat out of the stadium, he put a curse on the Cubs, saying that they would not only lose the world series that year (which they did), but they would never win the pennant again. Over 60 years later, the curse seems to be in full effect.

Columnist Mike Royko publicized this story back in the 70s, when the Cubs string of years without a pennant was starting to seem noticeably long. In our dig through the Tribune archives, we actually found a story that backs the story of the goat up – at least a little. More than I expected, anyway:

from the Trib,Oct 7, 1945:
“Andy Frain employed 525 ushers and other attendants to handle the capacity throng…he had trouble with only one fan, Billy Sianis, owner of a tavern near Chicago Stadium, who insisted on bringing a goat into the box section…. Sianis had a ticket for the goat, which was paraded through the American league area of front box customers…The critter wore a blanket on which was pinned a sign reading “We Got Detroit’s Goat.”….Frain finally convinced Sianis goats should be with the Navy football team.

* – contrary to rumor, Goodman’s ashes are not underneath home plate. Most likely, his ashes were scattered at the field surreptitiously by his friends.

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