A chapter for the ages
Have you read the comments about The Game this morning?
And don’t be sitting there snarking: “What game?”
You know darned good and well what game.
The whole world knows what game.
Game 7, the World Series, tied at the end of nine innings.
With a rain delay, for cryin’ out loud.
Even for The Legal Genealogist, a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan, it doesn’t get much better than that.
And for any genealogist, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Because this was a game for the family history books every bit as much as it was for the baseball history books.
It was 108 years ago — 1908 — the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.1 There are a lot of reasons given for the Cubs’ poor performance over the years, the most entertaining being the curse of the billy goat:
The curse began in 1945, when William “Billy Goat” Sianis — then the owner of the tavern, which is separately famous as the inspiration for the beloved “cheeburger, cheeburger, no Coke, Pepsi” skit on “Saturday Night Live” — bought two tickets to Game 4 of the Cubs’ World Series game against the Detroit Tigers: one for himself, and one for Murphy, the tavern’s billy goat mascot. …
Many attempts were made over the decades to lift the curse, which Sianis, himself, rescinded before his death in 1970. And his nephew Sam, the tavern’s current owner, has shown up at Wrigley Field with a goat on Opening Day several times to show that there were no hard feelings. In 2009, a Greek Orthodox priest blessed the Cubs’ dugout with holy water. Then, in 2012, five Cubs fans calling themselves Crack the Curse walked more than 1,700 miles — with a goat named Wrigley — from the team’s spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona, to Wrigley Field.2
The Cubs’ hapless luck became such a standard element of baseball history that entire generations of Cubs fans have been born, lived, and died, without seeing a single Cubs championship. And so when it looked like the Cubs might have a chance to make history last night, everybody (even Indians’ fans, I suspect) turned into Cubs’ fans.
This lifelong Yankees fan had to root, publicly, for the Cubs in honor of my brother and his son and daughter and son-in-law and grandson, and in honor of my sister-in-law and her sons, all raised as Cubs fans, who had never once woken up to find that the Cubs had won the World Series.
And I will note, in my family history, what a night it was for Evan and Tim and Gina and David and Martin, and for Carolyn and Dennis and Duncan.
And I hope all of you will note, in your family history, what this game meant for your family as well.
Because what it meant for so many families was all over social media last night.
From my friend Chuck Weinstein of New York: “Thinking of my grandfather who was 5 when the Cubs last won a World Series and waited all his life in Chicago for another one, and my dad, who at 89 has waited all his life for this! Go Cubs, go!”3
From my friend Karen Mauer Jones of New York: “Watching my Cubbies. My dad’s Cubbies. My grandma and grandpa’s Cubbies. Go Cubs! Hold this lead!”4
From my friend Paula Stuart-Warren of Minnesota: “I have a feeling my Dad is smiling tonight. I wonder what TV channel the game was on in heaven? He was a Twins fan but also watched the Cubs games on cable.”5
This, too, is part of our family history.
Make sure this gets recorded too.
Even — sigh — if you’re a Yankees fan.
Image: 1908 Chicago Cubs, photo by George Lawrence; Wikimedia.com.
- Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), “1908 World Series,” rev. 3 Nov 2016. ↩
- Alex Johnson, “Chicago Cubs Bury Curse With First World Series Title in 108 Years,” NBC News, posted 3 Nov 2016 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/ : accessed 3 Nov 2016). ↩
- Status Update, Chuck Weinstein, posted 2 Nov 2016, Facebook.com (https://www.facebook.com/ : accessed 3 Nov 2016). ↩
- Status Update, Karen Mauer Jones, posted 2 Nov 2016, Facebook.com (https://www.facebook.com/ : accessed 3 Nov 2016). ↩
- Status Update, Paula Stuart-Warren, posted 2 Nov 2016, Facebook.com (https://www.facebook.com/ : accessed 3 Nov 2016). ↩