Murphy’s Law spells doom for Cubs once more

By the time MVP Daniel Murphy hit his fourth home run of the NLCS, the Cubs were finished once again. No surprise. Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong will go wrong – might as well be the motto for the Chicago Cubs, the most ill-fated team in all of sports. Ever.

Once upon a time the Cubbies were kings of baseball. Chicago won three straight pennants beginning in 1906, and captured the World Series in both 1907 and 1908, becoming the first team to repeat and the first to win two straight championships. That’s when it all went wrong.

Charles Murphy, the Cubs unpopular owner and president, seemingly changed fortunes forever when he felt he was snubbed by his players, who refused to allow him to attend a celebration dinner with songwriter George M. Cohan after the 1908 World Series. Murphy had been under fire by players and fans alike by selling tickets for a profit, making it difficult for loyal fans to purchase Series ducats. And so it begins.

Two years later, in 1910, the Cubs once again won the National League pennant, only to lose the World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics in five games. A’s right fielder Danny Murphy (no relation to the Mets second baseman….at least we don’t think so) led all players with 9 RBIs. The Cubbies went on to win pennants in 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945, but lost the World Series each time.

In 1945, shortly after World War II ended, Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, was asked to leave a World Series game against the Tigers at Wrigley Field because the smell of his pet goat was bothering fans. An outraged Murphy allegedly declared, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” That was 70 years ago, and the Cubs haven’t returned to the World Series since. Oh yeah, the goat’s name was Murphy. Figures.

The Cubs led the NL East race for a good portion of the 1969 season, only to fall prey to the Amazin’ Mets. The architect of that Mets team was general manager Johnny Murphy – the same Johnny Murphy who registered a save against the Cubs in 1938 as part of a four-game Yankee sweep. One of the Mets play-by-play broadcasters in 1969 was Bob Murphy.

In 1984, the Cubs took a 2-0 lead against the Padres in the NLCS, then lost three in a row. Those games were played at what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Jack Murphy, a sports editor and columnist with the San Diego Union, was Bob Murphy’s brother.

In 2003, the Cubs were six outs from the World Series when a Chicago fan, Steve Bartman, drew the ire of the Wrigley Field crowd when he prevented Moises Alou from catching a foul fly down the left field line. You didn’t hear it here, but Bartman had a dog named Murphy. Not.


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