On this date in 1908, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, clinching the championship by beating the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs have not held the championship since, making it the longest dry spell in the history of major American professional sports.
The Chicago Cubs were in the World Series in 1945, their last appearance in the championship series. They lost to the Detroit Tigers. The origin of the Curse of the Billy Goat is this series, when the goat and his owner were ousted from the stadium, leaving a curse in their wake. The Billy Goat Tavern now has several locations.
On this date in 2003, a fan turned the winning tide for the Chicago Cubs by reaching for a foul ball and interfering with outfielder Moises Alou’s potential catch. That catch would have been the second out in the eighth inning. The Cubs were leading 0-3 in the game and would have clinched the National League championship with that win. The fan has maintained a low profile and refused monetary offers and an appearance in a documentary about the incident. The ball was later blown up, and its essence was supposedly boiled off and used in pasta sauce at Harey Carey’s restaurant.
The Lofty duo has seen one postseason Cubs game in person—or at least an inning. Shortly after moving to California, on October 5, 2008, we traipsed to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to see Game 4 of the Division Series. It proved to be a harrowing experience involving hours of traffic and dearth of parking. So overwhelmed by seeing palm trees at a baseball park and by the thought of being stuck for hours with celebrating Dodgers fans, we traipsed home to see the rest of the game on television. The Cubs lost the series that night.
Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs clinched the division and will head to the National League Championship Series. Will that be another against the Los Angeles Dodgers? Or will the Cubs face the New York Mets, their nemesis from the fateful 1969 season? In 1969, a pivotal late-season match-up became emblematic of the Mets’ rise to first place and the Cubs’ fall to second. That 1969 roster included Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams; Billy Williams is alive to see what happens this time. We’ll know tomorrow night which team the Cubs will face on Saturday in the postseason schedule.