The Curse of Chicago Cubs

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English 102
Research Paper

What is a curse? A curse could be defined as anything negative wished upon a person or place. So is it possible that an entire franchise be cursed? Well this is the case for one Major League baseball club, the Chicago Cubs. It has been over 100 years, 1908, since the Cubs have won the World Series. With many many great teams since then and no World Championships, is it too much to think that maybe, just maybe this franchise, is cursed? Well from the Billy goat in 1945 to the black cat in 1969 and Steve Bartman in 2003, many unfortunate events have occurred that have led many to believe that in fact the Chicago Cubs franchise is cursed.

Cub pride was at its height in 1945. The war was over, the boys were coming back, and the players wanted to put forth their best efforts for the eyes and ears of their country's returning GIs. On top of that, more than 200 regular players would be filtering back into the Major Leagues after their service in World War II. This fact of life meant that a lot of the men playing in the World Series in 1945 might not even have a job in '46 or '47. There was plenty of motivation to play all out. The Cubs took two of the first three games, winning behind brilliant shutout pitching performances by Hank Borowy and Claude Passeau. Then came Game 4, a change of fortunes, and (perhaps) the birth of a curse.

As the story goes, Billy Sianis, who owned a nearby tavern, had two tickets to Game 4. For some reason, Billy decided to bring along his pet goat, whose name was Murphy, and whom Billy had restored to health when Murphy had fallen off a truck and then limped bleeding into Billy's tavern.

At the game, the goat wore a blanket with a sign pinned to it that read "We Got Detroit's Goat". Sianis and the goat were allowed into Wrigley Field and even paraded around the playing field before the game until ushers intervened and led them to their seats. Security initially allowed Billy and his goat to watch the contest. In the fourth inning, however, after receiving complaints about the animal's odor, Cubs owner Philip Wrigley ejected both man and goat. The Cubs lost the game and later lost the Series.

Sianis was outraged at his ejection and supposedly put a curse on the Cubs, decreeing that they would never play in another World Series at Wrigley Field. They never have. Incidentally, Sianis and his sons opened a chain of restaurants across the country under the franchise name The Billy Goat Tavern.

After almost 25 years near the bottom of the standings, the Cubs finally fielded a winner in 1969. The team included Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins. They were managed by Leo Durocher. With all of that Hall of Fame talent, these Cubs seemed an unbeatable squad. At one point, they had an 8 1/2 game lead in the division.

Throughout the summer of 1969, led by All-Star Ron Santo and future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, and the game calling skills of Randy Hundley behind the plate, the Chicago Cubs had built a substantial lead in the newly created National League East. At the conclusion of each victory 3rd baseman Santo would jump and click his heels in celebration. After starting pitcher Ken Holtzman's no-hitter on August 19, the Cubs led the division by 8½ games over the St. Louis Cardinals and 9½ games over the New York Mets.

After the game of September 2, the Cubs record was 84-52 with the Mets in second place at 77-55. But then a losing streak began just as a Mets winning streak was beginning. The Cubs lost the final game of a series at Cincinnati, and then came home to play the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates (who would finish in third place). After losing the first two games by scores of 9-2 and 13-4, the Cubs led going into the ninth inning. A win would be a positive springboard since the Cubs were to play a crucial series with the Mets the very next day. But Willie Stargell drilled a 2-out, 2-strike pitch...
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