From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, October 27, 2016
The smell was obnoxious, and it was more than anyone could stand. Several rows of Cubs fans at Wrigley were enjoying the game but were appalled by the stench, so they organized, and sent a representative to talk to the management to remove the offender.
The year was 1945, and the country was celebrating the end of World War II. America’s favorite pastime was baseball, and it was even a happier time in Chicago, especially since the Cubbies were in a pennant race. They were finally over a dry spell that hadn’t yielded a World Series title since 1908. These Cub fans love their baseball, and we're excited to be back in the race, but didn’t like the smell of goats.
As the story goes, The Billy Goat tavern owner, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, and his Goat, Murphy, after being ousted from Wrigley Field, later sent a telegram to the Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley, which read, “Who stinks now? 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.”
And so, the legend of the “Curse of the Billy Goat” was born.
No one could ever anticipate the Cubs would be out of the series for so long after that 1945 season, but in late 2003, it looked hopeful they might return.
That was until the “curse” raised its ugly head again.
It was a good year for the cubs and for their newly-hired manager, Dusty Baker. Fans in Chicago and around the county were hopeful that they would finally make it back to the World Series. But at game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), sitting in Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113, was a then-anonymous Cubs fan named Steve Bartman. Being an excited spectator, he reached for a foul ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential snag by Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, the game most likely would have had a different outcome – although no one knows what really would have happened had Alou secured the second out of the inning by reaching into the stands.
But in sports, oftentimes there are game-changers where momentum shifts from one team to the other. This was one of those moments, or, as some Cub Fans wondered, “was it was the curse?”
The Cubs were eventually eliminated in the 2003 NLCS in seven games, and the superstition of the 1945 goat curse continued.
The “Billy Goat” curse ended last Saturday night when the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers, 5-0, in game 6 of the NLCS, and advanced to the World Series. It has been 71 years since they were the series, and 108 years since they won it – It was an amazing night!
All around Clarendon Hills, you can see the white “W” flags signifying Cubs wins flying on flag poles, on the front of houses and from the windows of cars. Some are not so happy, and you might even catch them wearing their Cub “hater” t-shirts like underwear. But if you are lucky enough to have a game ticket this week, it probably cost you a ton, but it will be worth it.
When you get to Wrigley Field, breathe in deeply through your nose and see if the smell is gone. Some might say that it depends on if you are from the north, or from the south side.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business or announces school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.