Steve Bartman and the 15 Biggest All-Time Villains of the Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are the longest-suffering franchise in baseball history, and indeed, in the history of every other sport we can conceive of.
The Cubbies haven't won a world championship since 1908. That's 103 years, if anyone's counting.
Here are the 15 biggest all-time villains of this tortured franchise ...
Babe Ruth, a villain.
If you were the 1918 and 1932 editions of the Chicago Cubs, definitely.
In the 1918 World Series, Ruth was 2-0 against the Cubs as a star pitcher, including a shutout in Game 1.
1929 Cubs Bullpen
In 1929, the Cubs were once again in the World Series. It had then been 21 years since their last World Series victory, and little did Cubs fans know that was just a drop in time's bucket for them.
In Game 4 against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, the Cubs were ahead 8-0 and on their way to tying the Series at two games apiece.
And then there was a meltdown of all meltdowns.
The Cubs bullpen, summoned in relief during the seventh inning of what was now an 8-3 game, yielded another seven runs, allowing the Athletics to come from behind and beat Chicago 10-8, propelling them to a five-game Series win.
Billy Sianis and the Billy Goat
Ah yes, the billy goat.
We all know the story well. During the 1945 World Series, Billy Sianis wanted to sit and watch a game with his goat, and Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley wouldn't have it.
Sianis allegedly sent Wrigley a telegram stating, "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."
Whatever you believe about the "curse," the Cubs haven't won since.
After the "curse of the billy goat" had been allegedly placed on the Cubs during the 1945 World Series, there was the actual play on the field that cost the Cubs a title.
In the deciding Game 7 of that series against the Detroit Tigers, Chicago was burned by Paul Richards, who drove in four of Detroit's nine runs en route to a Tiger championship.
In 1984 the Cubs made their first playoff appearance since their infamous World Series loss in 1945.
In the seventh inning with the Cubs ahead 3-2, Durham had a ground ball go through his legs, leading to a Padres victory that sent San Diego to the World Series and the Cubs home yet again.
With the Cubs needing just one win to advance to the World Series for the first time in four decades, Lee Smith threw a series-changing pitch to the Padres' Steve Garvey in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS.
Garvey smashed a two-run, walk-off homer, and the Padres completed the series victory in Game 5, sending them to the '84 Series.
Five years after their stinging loss in the '84 NLCS, the Cubs were back in the league championship series in 1989 against the San Francisco Giants.
This time, their nemesis was Will Clark, who hit .650 with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and eight RBI to kill Chicago's chances at reaching the World Series yet again.
Most notably, Clark hit a grand slam off of Cubs starter Greg Maddux in Game 1 of the series, in which he later said he read Maddux's lips when speaking to his catcher at a mound conference just before his bases-loaded at-bat.
Ever since, pitchers have covered their mouths with their glove to prevent the same from happening again.
Clark then hit a go-ahead single off of Cubs reliever Mitch Williams in the decisive game of the series, sending the Giants to the Fall Classic.
In 2001, the Cubs were in contention for much of the season, but in early September, with Chicago leading the NL wild card race by 2.5 games, Marlins outfielder Preston Wilson hit a walk-off homer that turned the season sour for the north-siders, who wouldn't recover and didn't make the playoffs that year.
In 2004 LaTroy Hawkins was Chicago's closer, and blew nine saves on the year, including two in particular that many feel cost the Cubs the wild card spot in the National League.
During the seventh inning stretch of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS between the Cubs and the Marlins, in which the Cubs led three games to one, comedian Bernie Mac sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and substituted "Champs" for "Cubs" when the "root, root, root for the ____" portion came up.
Some feel that Mac "jinxed" the Cubs, as their commanding lead fell apart just moments later and the Cubs once again failed to reach the World Series.
Steve Bartman is the unfortunate individual who reached for a foul pop-up in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the NLCS between the Cubs and Marlins in 2003.
The Cubs led the series three games to one and the game itself 3-0 before that incident. Afterwards Chicago fell apart, blowing the lead and the series.
Many unfairly blame Bartman for changing the Cubs fortunes, and his name will live forever in Cubs history.
While there was the Steve Bartman incident in the 2003 NLCS, there was also the actual play on the field following the foul ball.
And that play on the field involved a key error by sure-handed shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who booted a ball that allowed the flood gates to open for the Florida Marlins, who came from behind to beat the Cubs and eventually advance to win the World Series.