Best Local Myth

The Curse of the Billy Goat

by

Critics' Picks

Cross superstition with a heap of empirical evidence and you get—well, either a religious movement or the Curse of the Billy Goat, the legend that Billy Sianis of the Billy Goat Tavern condemned the Cubs to an eternity of failure when his pet goat was refused admission to a World Series game at Wrigley Field in 1945. Even nonbelievers concede there is no rational explanation for more than a century of relentless defeat. The hated Saint Louis Cardinals have won two more World Series in the past six years by sheer accident than the Cubs have won since 1908 with all their many designs. The most telling argument against the Curse is that the Cubs hadn't won a Series in 37 years when Sianis issued it. But this simply means that even before he brought the wrath of the gods down against the team, they weren't fans either.

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