Certain superstitious Chicago Cubs fans may look to Oct. 6, 1945, as the day everything went wrong. The Cubs had just taken two of three games against Detroit at Tiger Stadium and stood well to reverse decades of futility as the World Series moved to Wrigley Field for its final four games. The Cubs needed only a split of the four home games to win their first World Series since 1908. In an apparent publicity stunt, tavern owner William "Billy Goat" Sianis bought tickets for himself and the tavern-mascot goat.
According to Chicago lore, Wrigley Field officials refused to let the billy goat into the stadium, citing a prevalent body odor emanating from the animal. The Greek immigrant Sianis then left the stadium and, according to legend, leveled a hex upon the Cubbies who not only lost that day, but lost the series also and, depending on your perspective, have been losing ever since. Since 1945, the Sianis family, which still operates the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan Avenue near the stadium, has taken various goats out to Wrigley Field to try to perform some sort of reverse curse. Sam Sianis, the original proprietor's nephew, even attended the 1984 home opener with a white goat named Socrates. That year the Cubs won their division, but lost to the Padres in the playoffs.
The less superstitious will, nevertheless, blame this year's failure not on a goat, but rather on an 8th-inning meltdown in Game Six when the Cubs had the Marlins on the ropes with a three-run lead and just five outs to play. But as they say in Chicago, there's always next year.