Today in 1945, the beginning of a curse, or at least one that seemed real to frustrated fans of the Chicago Cubs: the Curse of the Billy Goat.
The so-called curse started with William Sianis, the owner of Chicago’s legendary Billy Goat Tavern.
Fans of early Saturday Night Live remember the “cheeseburger cheeseburger” sketch based on the Billy Goat.
The story goes during the 1945 World Series, Sianis brought his pet billy goat, Murphy, to Wrigley Field for good luck.
Sianis, who once asked the US government to grant him a food and liquor license for the moon after the Apollo 11 landing, claimed that Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley had refused Murphy entry to the park quote, “Because the goat stinks.”
In most versions of the story, Sianis responded by wishing ill on the Cubs, either for the day, or for that World Series, or forever and ever.
Whatever he said, it really did work out that way for a long time.
The Cubs lost the 1945 Series to the Detroit Tigers – Sianis reportedly asked Wrigley “who stinks now?” – and the team went on to a remarkable string of mediocrity that lasted for the rest of the 20th century and beyond.
Even when they had good seasons, weird stuff would happen that would seal their fate.
A black cat would run through the field and the Cubs would end up missing the playoffs.
Or they’d get to the playoffs and they’d blow a lead.
Worse, a string of players who’d missed the World Series while with the Cubs got there with other teams and won.
So Cubs fans tried a number of increasingly bizarre tactics to reverse the so-called curse, most of them involving billy goats, some of them best left unsaid.
Sianis himself proclaimed the curse lifted, but nothing worked.
Until it did: in 2016, the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945.
They advanced to the World Series on October 22, 46 years to the day that William Sianis died.
Today in Ketchum, Idaho, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival is getting underway.
As you might guess from the name, the big event at the festival is a parade in which some 1,500 sheep walk down Main Street together.
What if they all then try to visit Wrigley Field?
Are the Chicago Cubs Really Cursed? (LiveScience)
Come on Down for the Big Cozy Sheep Parade (Thrillist)