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Blame it on a Goat
Cubs fans seeking explanation for the team’s futile history point to a goat who knows how to hold a grudge. The story, in brief: William Sianis, a Greek immigrant and owner of the Billy Goat tavern, brought his pet goat to a World Series game at Wrigley in 1945. Sianis had a ticket for the goat but was kicked out anyway, and in response placed a curse on the Cubs that they would never again return to the Fall Classic. So far, it’s stuck. The Cubs lost that ’45 Series 4-to-3 to Detroit and haven’t been back since. The Cubs have brought goats back to Wrigley to try to break the curse and Sianis’ nephew, who still runs the Billy Goat, has declared the hex lifted. Still, the World Series drought remains. And skeptical Cubs fans point to the meltdown in the 2003 playoffs as evidence that the Curse of the Goat is alive and well. This is a legend that will only die when the Cubs again reach the World Series.
The Billy Goat tavern, meanwhile, has become something of a Chicago legend itself, separate altogether from the story of the curse. The tavern was immortalized by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on Saturday Night Live in their ‘cheezborger, cheezborger’ skit, and championed by the late columnist Mike Royko, who had his own spot at the corner bar at the Billy Goat located under Michigan Avenue. That location is the best one for local color as it is still a hang-out for reporters and politicians and the like. And, yes, there is a goat’s head mounted on the wall above the bar.