It’s finally happened. The Chicago Cubs have not only won the National League pennant for the first time in 71 years, but they then took it all the way! After an emotionally draining World Series run, the Cubs nabbed the pennant after coming back from a 3-1 deficit in a Game 7 nail-biter that included a dramatic extra inning and rain delay.
The World Series win — the first in a whopping 108 years! — put an end to all of the “maybe next year” sentiments and the fabled curse of the Billy Goat, which originated back in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field after the stench of his pet goat, Murphy, caused fans to bristle and complain to the ballpark’s powers that be. As he left, Sianis reportedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more” or “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again.” Basically, he was upset and proclaimed that the Cubs would never win another pennant. Those fated words followed Chicago’s beloved Cubbies from that year, when they lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers in 1945, to 2016.
The Cubs have also been plagued by a lesser-known curse related to a black cat. Back in 1969, beloved Cub and team captain Ron Santo was on deck at New York’s Shea Stadium when a black cat added to the team’s cursed reputation. The Cubs, which had started the season strong, were already struggling by the time they faced the New York Mets on September 9.
“On that day, as the Cubs played the Mets, out of nowhere came a black cat,” Bleacher Report notes. “This cat ran towards Ron Santo, who was in the on-deck circle, and proceeded to run around the mystified Santo. Then, the cat walked in front of the dugout, and stared down the whole bench. Afterwards, as suddenly as the black cat had appeared, it left.”
The Cubs were a flop the rest of the season, while the Mets took home the World Series pennant.
And we won’t even bring up the Steve Bartman incident of 2003. Let’s just give the guy a break now that the losing streak is over. If you really want to know what happened, Google it. But basically, many a Cub fan believes he cost the team the National League pennant that year.
But now we celebrate.
To commemorate the end of the ball club’s original curse, Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein and his staff ate goat meat in the stands of Wrigley Field after last week’s big win. Epstein and manager Joe Maddon are being hailed as key components of the dream team that gave generations of Cubs fans the win for which they have been longing for decades — and even an entire lifetime for some.
Jubilation erupted at Wrigley Field as the team won both the National League and World Series pennants and I was lucky enough to witness both celebrations along with the record-breaking parade and rally that brought more than 5 million people out to Grant Park and the parade route last Friday. People of all ages and stripes poured onto the streets on or near Addison and Clark Streets after the pennant wins as well as downtown Chicago for the rally to celebrate the lovable losers who are now, finally, winners. With hugs, tears and high-fives, the city is still celebrating the mind-blowing win and fans will be wearing Cubbie blue for months to come. The best part of it all is the youth of this winning team, which has led many sports analysts to predict that the Cubs could be in the running for the World Series pennant for at least another five years. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, we should all just enjoy the moment. The last thing we want to do is spark yet another 108-year curse!
By Aricka Flowers-Turck, 2016-17 Topics & Trends staff member