cursed no more as 'Billy Goat' put to pasture
Send a link to a friend
[November 03, 2016]
By Steve Keating
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - When the
long-suffering Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, Major League
Baseball's two cursed franchises, made it to the World Series
something had to give.
Would it be the Cubs exorcising the "Curse of the Billy Goat" to
snap a 108-year World Series drought or the Indians putting to rest
the far less romantic but no less enduring "Curse of Rocky Colavito"
to end a 68-year dry spell?
In the end the baseball gods determined the Cubs and their fans had
After enduring decades of misfortune and heartbreak the Cubs finally
prevailed, but not without one last gut-churning roller coaster ride
that ended with them squeaking by in a nerve-racking decisive
seventh game on Wednesday against an Indians team that now own
baseball's longest active title drought.
That means the Texas Rangers, who joined MLB 1961 and are still
searching for their first World Series crown, move into the on-deck
circle of the cursed.
At the moment there is not yet a fully-formed Texas hex to hang on
the Rangers' drought although the "Curse of Nolan Ryan" is gaining
"There's been a lot of burden placed and I think, quite frankly,
that it is misplaced," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said as his team
celebrated. "If you just want to carry that burden around with you
all the time, tonight would never happen.
"The burden has been lifted. It should have never been there in the
The notion of curses hung heavily over this World Series,
particularly in Chicago where a hex had clung to the Cubs like the
ivy covering the outfield walls at iconic Wrigley Field.
For a storied franchise that had gone 108 years without a
championship a curse seemed a reasonable explanation.
The dreaded "Curse of the Billy Goat" had haunted the Cubs since
1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave
Game Four of the World Series because the odor of his pet goat was
On his way out of Wrigley Field an outraged Sianis allegedly vowed
the Cubs would never again win a World Series.
"There's no more curse now, the goat is history," said Cubs fan
Rodrigo Gonzales, moments after the game ended.
The "Curse of the Billy Goat" has grown into American sporting
folklore and a cottage industry.
Cubs fans taunt the curse with T-shirts stenciled with "Goatbusters"
and "I ain't afraid of no Goat" while the original Billy Goat
Tavern, still in operation, is a Windy City tourist attraction with
nine locations across Chicago and suburbs.
Cleveland's curse is more manufactured than organic, more a product
of Indians supporters struggling to find a way to understand their
[to top of second column]
Chicago Cubs players celebrate on the field after defeating the
Cleveland Indians in game seven of the 2016 World Series at
Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
They settled on the "Curse of Rocky Colavito", the Indians home run
champ who was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1960.
While no hex was placed on the Indians, many of the club's baffled
fans believe that was the moment that damned their team to decades
The Cubs celebration means one of the sporting world's most
notorious curses is no more but there are plenty of others around
the globe that endure and fascinate.
Portugal's most famous soccer club Benfica is haunted by the curse
of Bela Guttmann. The Hungarian coach led Benfica to their two
European Cup wins in 1961 and 1962 but on leaving the club in
acrimonious circumstances he declared: "Benfica will not win another
European final without me."
Benfica have gone on to play in eight European club competition
finals since then - and lost them all.
In the hugely popular Irish sport of Gaelic football, the county of
Mayo has experienced a title drought since 1951 which is said to be
caused by the fact that the victorious team of that year passed a
funeral on their way home without paying their respects.
According to legend, a curse was placed on the team by either a
local priest or a woman, who said that the team would not win
another All-Ireland title until every player in the team had
themselves passed away.
Two members from that team are still alive and, true to form, Mayo
list this year's decider to Dublin - the 10th time they have lost in
a final since 1951.
"I love tradition. I think tradition is worth being upheld but
curses and superstitions are not," said Maddon.
(Additional reporting by Philip O'Connor in Sweden and Brian
Homewood in Switzerland; Editing by Frank Pingue)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.