Tavern owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis was stopped at the gate before Game 4 of the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field with his goat, Murphy, in tow.
Murphy’s stench, rather than the fact he was, well, a goat, seemed to be the determining factor on why the animal wasn’t allowed into the game. The goat had his own ticket, after all.
“You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again,” Sianis proclaimed.
The Chicago Cubs dropped Game 4, a defeat that evened the series at 2-2. The Detroit Tigers eventually won the championship in seven games and “The Curse of the Billy Goat” was born.
Once the Curse of the Bambino — the legend based off the Boston Red Sox’s trade of slugger Babe Ruth — was shredded as Boston broke its title drought by winning the 2004 World Series, the Billy Goat curse became baseball’s inarguable top hex.
The Cubs are back in their first World Series since Sianis, a Greek immigrant who owned The Billy Goat Tavern, wasn’t allowed to bring his goat inside Wrigley. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
The legend of the curse grew as the Cubs stumbled in their smattering of postseason appearances over the next several decades and it spawned a couple other reasons for the Cubs’ postseason futility:
The Black Cat Curse
Late the 1969 season, a black cat ran on the in front of the Cubs’ dugout during a game at Shea Stadium as Chicago faltered and fell out of playoff contention.
The Bartman Curse
This one involves poor Steve Bartman, the much-maligned fan who deflected a ball during Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS and prevented Cubs left fielder Moises Alou from potentially making a putout. The Cubs, who held a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning, surrendered the lead as the Marlins evened and, ultimately, won the series in seven games.
The Cubs have attempted to rid their franchise of the Billy Goat curse, if one actually exists. Sam Sianis, William Sianis’s nephew, was invited to opening day with a goat who descended from Murphy.
“The curse is lifted,” Sam Sianis said.
At the start of the 2008 playoffs, the Cubs invited Rev. Father James L. Greanias, a Greek Orthodox priest, to Wrigley. Greanias spread the Cubs’ dugout with holy water.