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Wednesday, September 12, 2012


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The story of the Chicago Cubs and the goat curse is one of baseball's most infamous tales of misery, woe and dashed dreams. Allegedly it began during the '45 World Series when William "Billy Goat" Sianis attempted to bring his goat Murphy into Game 4. The pair gained entry but were eventually ejected due to the malodorous goat and Sianis cast a hex over the Cubs, one that has accounted for their misfortune and now longest streak without a championship team.

Sianis had the "Billy Goat" nickname long before the ejection at Wrigley. He had owned the Lincoln Tavern since 1934 and one day a goat fell off a truck and wandered into the establishment. The goat was adopted by Sianis and he then took on the "Billy Goat" mantle and renamed the bar, a name that stayed with it even after the relocation in 1964 to its current below-street spot in downtown Chicago.

Immortalized behind the liquor shelves of the bar are mid-century photographs of famous (or infamous) bar owner congratulating pageant winners including Miss Greece. I made this picture in June of 2007 during a break in a Nikon-sponsored shoot out as part of the University Photographers of America Association's annual symposium. I was drawn to the tavern because of their world famous Cheezeborgers, the ones that John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd popularized on SNL. It didn't disappoint and now the tavern is a pilgrimage spot for me every time I hit the windy city.

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