Jon Hagadorn’s “1001 Heroes, Legends, Histories & Mysteries Podcast” is a weekly, in-depth series about people, places, and things. Ya know, the importance of nouns. But these nouns are critical because they’ve gone down or risen in history, and maybe we can learn a thing or two. Especially during #SpookySZN, the most frightening time of year. While there are so many outstanding episodes of this show to hear, we’ve selected “The Curse of the Billy Goat,” a sports history dive into superstitions. We’ll also learn how the Chicago Cubs baseball team attempted to end their losing streak, once and for all. Could this bleating goat transform their loser-dom to GOAT status?
Nothing more to say… Oh wait, that’s Stevie Wonder’s tune. And who Kenny Mayne said is his dream future podcast guest as he shared in his interview with Podsauce. Superstitions have plagued the world forever, beliefs that actions or events will have consequences to impact the future. We’re sure you can rattle quite a few examples off the cuff. Superstitions are also prevalent in sports, as we learned about some players who take them seriously.
Some players avoid or step on the foul line when heading onto the field. Players have reported routines, like eating chicken, before games à la baseball player Wade Boggs. Pitcher Justin Verlander claims to eat 3 crunchy taco supremes without tomatoes, a cheesy gordita crunch, and a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell without tomatoes for luck before every start. Justin Morneau wears #33 and has a pre-game ritual before home games. He stops by the same gourmet sub joint in Minnesota, orders a Turkey Tom sandwich without sprouts, and drinks a custom slurpee. Outfielder Bryce Harper eats waffles and takes 7 showers before games.
This superstitious realm is observed by some players outside the field, too. 20th century baseman Andy McConnell would scour the streets for any pin he could find, if he was in the midst of a batting slump. He believed this find would bring him luck.
Curse of the Bambino
“The Curse of the Bambino” hit Boston for 80 years, allegedly catalyzed when Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees in 1919. This story was also covered in a previous episode of “1001 Heroes, Legends, Histories & Mysteries Podcast.”
World Series restrictions got William’s goat?
One of the worst-reported sports curses was “The Curse of The Billy Goat.” It was October, 1945, and the fourth playoff game of the World Series was about to start. A local bar owner, William Sianis, purchased entry tickets for himself and his pet billy goat, Murphy, for luck.
Upon arrival, stadium owner PJ Wrigley stated that goats were not permitted. When he asked the rationale behind the goat ba(aaa)n, PJ explained, “The goat stinks.” Miffed that he and his goat could not watch the game together, and as legend claims, the bar owner announced a curse on the team. Sianis sent a letter to Wrigley imploring, “Who stinks now?” 24 years later, Sianis apologized, although the Cubs continued to lose. The curse is claimed to have lasted until 2016.
In this episode, so many other fascinating tidbits regarding general Cubs history, “The Curse of The Billy Goat” and attempts to lift its effects, along with other sports superstitions are shared. Tune into the complete episode of “The Curse of the Billy Goat’ on “1001 Heroes, Legends, Histories & Mysteries Podcast.”