It’s been said that the only constant is change, and in a world of constant change, it’s good to know that some things never do, like the Chicago Cubs.
When it comes to the mother of all championship droughts, none can compare with that of the Chicago Cubs—104 years and still going strong. Not since 1908 have the tenants of Wrigley Field won a World Series.
If you believe in curses, the Curse of the Billy Goat was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game because
his pet goat’s odor was bothering other fans. Sianis was reported to write Cubs owner Philip Wrigley and stated that the Cubs would lose this World Series and would never win another World Series again. The Cubs lost Game 4 that day after being up two games to one in the series, and then proceeded to lose the series in seven games to the Detroit Tigers. The rest as they say, is history.
There is cause for hope, however, not so much in yet another team-rebuilding movement, but in the fact that in the last 20 years other franchises finally broke through and ended their own long title drought.
The following franchises had title droughts that reached legendary status before mercifully ending; two of them happen to reside in the Windy City with the Cubs: The Chicago White Sox went 88 years between World Series titles (1917-2005); the Boston Red Sox’s Curse of the Bambino, 86
years (1918-2004); the New York Rangers, 54 years (1940-1994); the Chicago Blackhawks, 49 years (1961-2010) and the Boston Bruins, 39 years (1971-2011).
Compare that to some professional sports franchises that have never won their sport’s championship and whose beleaguered fans have not experienced sharing in their sport's ultimate thrill of victory.
The list of those franchises and their years of inception would consist of the Minnesota Vikings, 1961; Houston Astros, 1965; Denver Nuggets, 1967; St. Louis Blues, 1967; Phoenix Suns, 1968; San Diego Padres, 1969; Buffalo Sabres, 1970; Cleveland Cavaliers, 1970; L.A. Clippers, 1970; Utah Jazz, 1974; Seattle Seahawks, 1976 and the Seattle Mariners, 1977.
But there’s hope for those fans as the following franchises were finally able to break through and win their first league championship, each one taking over 40 years to do so: the Anaheim Angels, 1961-2002; the New Orleans Saints, 1967-2009 and the San Francisco Giants, 1952-2010.
It’s been said you can’t miss what you never had, and there are sports franchises that have won their sport’s championship, but the last time they did it is a distant to non-existent memory for generations of their fans: Cleveland Indians, 1948; Detroit Lions, 1957; Philadelphia Eagles, 1960; San Diego Chargers, 1963 (AFL); Cleveland Browns, 1964; Buffalo Bills, 1965 (AFL); Toronto Maple Leafs, 1967; New York Jets, 1968; Kansas City Chiefs, 1969; Milwaukee Bucks, 1971; Miami Dolphins, 1972; Indiana Pacers, 1973 (ABA); New York Knicks, 1973; Philadelphia Flyers, 1975; Golden State Warriors, 1975; New Jersey Nets, 1976 (ABA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979.
So which franchise will be next to break their long title drought? The Flyers appear to be the closest of all those yearning franchises, and woe be to the Cleveland sports fan—it’s been 48 years since the city of Cleveland knew what winning a championship felt like.
It appears that it will be at least a few more years before the Cubs are contenders. Bogart and Bergman may always have Paris, and Crosby had Hope, but for Cub fans, well, they always have next year.
The Curse of the Billy Goat lives on.