Way back in 1985, the Hanshin Tigers of Osaka won the Japan Central League title, after a lapse of 21 years. Their overjoyed fans took to the streets in celebration and happened upon a staue of KFC founder Colonel Harlan Sanders. Deciding that it bore a strong resemblance to Hanshin Tigers slugger, Randy Bass, they tore the statue from it’s pedestal and continued their victory parade, passing the statue among themselves. As the went over the Ebisu bridge , their overexuberance resulted in the statue somehow being tossed over the railings into the Dotonbori River. In the 24 years since then, the Tigers have not won the pennant again and many of their fans believe it’s the Curse of the Colonel.
Things may be looking up again.
Last week drivers were able to locate and salvage the long lost statue. Though the statue’s spectacles, left hand and feet are still missing, Tiger fans hope that enough has been salvaged for the ‘curse’ to be lifted and that their beloved team will once again win the pennant this coming season.
Meanwhile, there is no end in sight for the travails of the Chicago Cubs who have been shut out of the World Series since 1945. Some believe that it has to do with the Curse of the Billy Goat.
1945 was the year the Cubs made their last appearance in the World Series. They were hosting the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 at Wrigley Field, and leading 2-1 in the 5 game series. One of their biggest fans was Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern. He had a couple of WS tickets and he turned up at the stadium with his pet goat , ” Murphy”. The story gets a little muddled here but the net result was that he was denied a seat for his pet even though he had the requisite ticket . The popular version is that the other spectators objected to the goat’s odor. As he left the stadium, the outraged Sianis was heard to exclaim ” The Cubs , they ain’t gonna win no more. They never gonna be another Series played at Wrigley Field.” The Cubs did not win another game in the 1945 Series and lost to the Tigers. Whether because of his words or not, the Cubs haven’t made it back to the World Series since then .The closest they came was in 2003 when they were within 5 outs of winning the NL Championship but fell to the Florida Marlins. Could it really have been the “Curse of the Billy Goat “?
Not a few people think that it is. Over the years , several attempts have been made to defuse the curse. Sianis’ nephew was invited to attend a game with a(nother) pet goat and he did . It didn’t work; the cubs still lost. Other times , Cub fans tried a reverse mojo. They went to the opposing team’s stadium with a pet goat and were refused admission. That didn’t work either. Now they are reduced to waiting and wondering when the World Series drought will end. The Hanshin Tiger fans are upbeat but Cubs fans are not.