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William Sianis (c. 1900 - October 22, 1970), better known as Billy Sianis (Greek: Σιανις), was a Chicago, Illinois tavern owner, who went on to become part of baseball lore because of the famed Curse of the Billy Goat he supposedly put on the Chicago Cubs after he and his goat were tossed out of game four of the 1945 World Series.[1] Because of the alleged curse he is said to have imposed on the Cubs, people nicknamed him "Billy the Goat".

Billy Sianis was born in Greece (Palaiopyrgos, Arkadia) and some time in the early 1900s immigrated to the United States, where he became a prominent Chicago bar owner, opening the famous Billy Goat Tavern in 1934. His tavern was visited by many of Chicago's personalities of the 1940s, and Sianis appears to have been a charismatic business man.

Sianis was a big Cubs fan, and he enjoyed going to Cubs games along with his beloved goat. On October 6, 1945, he bought two tickets worth $7.20. One of the tickets was for him; the other one was for his goat.[1] He was allowed to parade with the goat on the baseball field before the game started, with the goat wearing a sign stating "We Got Detroit's Goat".[1]

Sianis and his goat watched the game from their seats until the seventh inning. It was then that security personnel told Sianis that he and his goat had to leave, due to complaints about the goat's objectionable odor.

Sianis, according to believers of the curse, was enraged that such action was taken against him and his goat, and he then cursed the team. The exact nature of the curse differs in various accounts of the incident. Some state that Sianis declared that no World Series games would ever again be played at Wrigley Field, while others believe that his ban was on the Cubs appearing in the World Series, making no mention of a specific venue. Sianis's family maintains that he sent a telegram to Philip K. Wrigley, which read, "You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat."[1]

The curse was subsequently "lifted" in public on several occasions, first in 1969 by Sianis himself, and several times thereafter by his nephew Sam Sianis, the current owner of the Billy Goat Tavern.[1] Nevertheless, many fans are convinced that some residual aspect of the curse persists.[1]

Sianis led a quiet life after this event, until his death in 1970. He died at home on October 22, 1970. Columnist Mike Royko attributed the timing of Sianis's death to his work ethic, writing in a column, "It was typical of Billy Goat that he would die during the only five hours of the day when his place wasn't open for business. That's how good a businessman he was."[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gatto, Steve. Da Curse of the Billy Goat. Protar House, LLC. ISBN 0972091041.  
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