The last two times the Chicago Cubs made it to the playoffs, in 2007 and 2008, some twisted fans snuck into Wrigley Field in the dead of night both times and left a skinned goat hanging from a rope off the arm of the statue of famed broadcaster Harry Caray. Yet like almost everything else about being a Cubs fan since 1908, it was hopeless. The Cubs got swept in both division series, falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks and L.A. Dodgers. Read more here.
APM. SPENCER GREEN
The Gloved Ones
Oct. 7, 1984: The Cubs had broken a 39-year postseason drought. They took a 2-0 lead over the Padres in the NLCS, gave two back, but still led 3-0 in the decisive Game 5 and had Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe on the mound. San Diego scored twice in the sixth, and with one out and two on in the seventh, pinch-hitter Tim Flannery hit a grounder to first baseman Leon Durham, who let the ball roll between his legs. A single, a double and another single later, the Cubs trailed 6-3 and lockdown closer Goose Gossage slammed the door with a two-inning save. The moment is immortalized in a famous joke; click here for it.
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'They ought to get a (bleepin') job!'
After another horrendous start in 1983, the Cubs were buried in last place before April was over. There were so few fans in the ballpark most days it was no problem hearing what nearly every one of them thought about manager Lee Elia's players. After a one-run loss to the Dodgers, the most vicious taunts were still ringing in his ears. In what might have been the best postgame press conference ever, and by miles the most obscene, Elia fired back. Listen to his legendary rant here.
'What the heck is going on here?'
Sept. 9, 1969: The Cubs, who were 9 1/2 games ahead of the Mets in mid-August when the tailspin began, were only 1 1/2 games when a black cat crawled out of the Shea Stadium grandstand, looped around Ron Santo in the on-deck circle, then stopped and stared at manager Leo Durocher in the dugout. 'I'm superstitious enough, but Leo, he was superstitious as all heck,' Santo recalled. 'I tried not to think about bad luck right at that moment, but yeah, after we lost, I sat at my locker a few minutes and wondered, 'What the heck is going on here?' ' The Cubs finished eight games behind the 'Amazins.' Read more here.
'Who stinks now?'
Oct. 6, 1945: The Cubs were in their last World Series appearance for, well, almost forever. Among fans in attendance was local restauranteur William Sianis and his pet goat, who were taking in the game when it began to rain. Nearby fans began complaining about the odor until then-Cubs boss P.K. Wrigley took it upon himself to step in and banish both from the park. 'The Cubs ain't gonna win no more!' Sianis howled as he and 'Billy' were escorted out, and despite the Cubs being up two games to one against the Detroit Tigers, he turned out to be right. Not long after, Sianis returned to his native Greece on vacation and sent Wrigley a note saying, 'Who stinks now?' Read more here.
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'Let's make this kid famous'
Oct. 14, 2003: The Cubs led the Marlins 3-2 in the NLCS, ahead 3-0 in the top of the eighth at Wrigley and five outs from returning to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Then Florida's Luis Castillo lifted a foul down the line in left. Moises Alou timed his jump, opened his glove and got beat to the ball by a 26-year-old youth baseball coach. The baseball hit the heel of Steve Bartman's hand and dropped. In the Marlins dugout, Game 7 pitcher Mark Redman turned to a teammate and said, 'Let's make this kid famous.' They did, with eight runs to win Game 6. The Marlins clinched the NLCS the next night while Bartman went into hiding. Read more here.