The Chicago Cubs have finally lifted the Curse of the Billy Goat, laid upon them in 1945 by the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, William Sianis. The curse was said to have started because Sianis had brought his pet billy goat, Murphy, to the stadium to watch the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series. He was asked to leave the Cubs home ballfield of Wrigley Field during Game 4, ostensibly because the goat’s odor was bothering other fans.
As he left, an upset Sianis was rumored to have said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”
The curse worked, as the Cubs lost the 1945 Series to the Detroit Tigers, dropping Game 4 after being up 2-1 and then losing the entire Series 4-3.
Since that fateful year, the Cubs hadn’t been in the World Series since. The Chicago Cubs have been in the National League Championship four times before this year, in 1984, 1989, 2003, and 2015, but lost to their opponents all four years. This year, they dominated the National League Central Division with an overall record of 103-58, towering over their closest divisional rivals, the Cardinals, who had an 86-76 record.
The Series was all tied up at 3-3 coming into Wednesday night’s game, with the Chicago Cubs battling back from being down 3-1. The game was a battle, with the Cubs leading 5-1 at the bottom of the 5th inning. A wild pitch by Jon Lester let the Indians close to 5-3. At the bottom of the 8th, the Cubs were back up 6-3, but a Brandon Guyer double led to a score by Ramirez. Rajai Davis then hammered one home on a line drive to left field, bringing the score tied up at 6-6.
The ninth inning was scoreless leading into extra innings, the first time the Championship has done that since the 1997 Marlins win over the Indians that stretched to 11 innings. The top of the tenth saw Ben Zobrist pound a double to left field, letting Almora Jr. take the Cubs to a lead, 7-6. Miguel Montero was able to edge a base hit to the Indians’ weakened left field, with Anthony Rizzo scoring. The game headed to the bottom of the tenth with the score 8-6, with the Cubs in the lead.
Rajai Davis brought Brandon Guyer home again with a line drive to center field. After that, the Cubs sent Mike Montgomery out to the pitching mound, bringing out Carl Edwards Jr. That was the juice the Cubs needed to seal their historic victory over the Indians, as Martinez grounded out and a double play to first base ended the game.
The Chicago Cubs victory in the 2016 World Series is historic in so many ways. This win ends the longest drought in the Major Baseball League, as the Cubs hadn’t won a Series since Merkle’s Boner sent them there in 1908. They are also the first team in over 30 years to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series (the last team was the Kansas City Royals in 1985). They also won the series with the final two games on the road, a feat that hasn’t been done since the Pittsburgh Pirates did it in 1979.
For those of you who think the Curse of the Billy Goat was a load of bunk, consider that the Cubs won their final game in the National League Championship against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 46th anniversary of William Sianis’ death. The curse was laid in ’45, so it took one more year than that for the curse to expire. Is it a load of hooey? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. What can’t be denied is that the Chicago Cubs are baseball’s 2016 World Champions.
The Curse of the Billy Goat is lifted, and the Cubs have handed the dubious honor of having the longest drought to their opponents, the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won a Series since 1948.
[Featured Image by Charlie Riedel/AP Images]