The Curse of the Goat (according to Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story)
By mid-baseball season 1945 there was magic in the air around Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Cubs were leading the league by three and a half games. They had a phenomenal pitching staff, headed by ace Hank Wyse. Then, on July 27, the club acquired yet another super pitcher, Hank Borowy, from the Yankees. Borowy’s opening game for the Cubs was a shutout. It was a harbinger of spectacular things to come. In the bleachers of Wrigley Field, cheering each homegame triumph, were the fans – and one fan in particular: a Chicago tavern owner named Bill Sianis. Even those who did not know Bill by name could identify him. To strangers he was simply “the fellow with the goat.” He brought his pet goat to each and every home game. Spectators often asked Bill if the goat were a team mascot or something of the kind, and he would answer nothing of the kind. The goat was his pet, almost like a friend to him, and the animal was especially fond of baseball. That seemed true enough. Before each game started, the goat would prance restlessly in the aisles, his eyes searching the stands for who knew what. But at the cry of “Play ball!” the goat’s gaze would be fixed on the field. He would just sit there with his master, apparently engrossed in the activity of the athletes. Some said the animal would even bleat with delight whenever the crowd roared over an exciting play. Then one day, in that incredible season of 1945, the Cubs won the pennant.Chicago’s National League team was in the World Series. Because of wartime travel restrictions, the first three series games were scheduled to be played in the Detroit, home of the American League champion Tigers, and the remaining games were to be played in Chicago. The first game was a shutout: Cubs nine, Tigers nothing. Detroit rallied in the second game, won four-to-one. But then in the third game, Chicago pitcher Claude Passeau pitched the second one-hitter in World Series history, producing yet another Cub shutout, three-to-nothing. And the Cubs came home. Leading the series two-to-one, they would no play the remainder of the series in home-park Wrigley Field. How could they lose? Well, I don’t know if this answers the question. But what happened next is THE REST OF THE STORY. When Bill Sianis and his goat arrived at Wrigley Field for game four of the 1945 World Series, they were apprised of a very recent regulation: No Goats Allowed. Bill explained how his goat had relished the regular season, had rooted vigorously for the home team, and now to miss the conclusion of the World Series would be the greatest disappointment of the goat’s life. But Bill’s protests were summarily disregarded. The goat was out, and that was that. And that was the origin of the Cub’s Curse. Then and there, Bill Sianis declared that the Cubs would lose the series and would never win another pennant in Wrigley Field! Two-to-one ahead and only home games left, the Cubs nevertheless lost the 1945 World Series. Coincidence or curse, the Cubs until this time have never won another pennant.