This is it.
By the end of Wednesday night’s World Series Game 7 between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, one curse will be broken. For the other, the misery will remain.
The winner-take-all game is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. The Cubs, managed by Hazleton native Joe Maddon, are trying to become the first team since 1985 to win the World Series after trailing 3-1. But there’s a lot more history at stake than that.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, the longest drought in baseball. The Indians currently have the second-longest dry spell, last winning in 1948. The 174 combined seasons between titles for the two clubs is the most in World Series history.
“It’s been a very well-contested series,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Both sides have played really good baseball. They have been outstanding pitching. They have been outstanding pitching all year. All of a sudden, our offense is having a resurgence, which we need. Again, of course, of course we want to be the group that breaks the string. …It’s just correct and apt that we’d go seven games.”
Starting for the Indians is ace Corey Kluber, who will try to win his third game this series. Over the last 30 years, only six other pitchers have made three starts in a single Fall Classic, the last being Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
Kluber will go up against Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks, who started Game 3 — won by the Indians, 1-0 — but did not factor in the decision.
“It’s an honor to even be a part of it, and we’re going to give it everything we have,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I can’t imagine a better group of guys to go through something like this with. I’m looking forward to it already.”
This marks the 38th time in a best-of-seven World Series that the Fall Classic has extended to a final game. But clearly this isn’t just any Game 7.
A curse will end tonight
For the Cubs, it’s the second time they will play in a winner-take-all World Series Game 7. The only other time came 71 years ago in 1945 — the last time they were in the World Series — when they lost to the Detroit Tigers. That also was the year when the purported billy goat curse was put on the club.
On October 6, 1945, a month after the end of World War II, a Chicago tavern owner named William “Billy” Sianis went to Wrigley Field, intending to attend Game 4 of the World Series with his pet goat, Murphy. But, according to the Billy Goat Tavern website, while both had tickets, the goat was denied entry. No animals were allowed in the ballpark, plus Murphy smelled bad.
Sianis, according to legend, threw up his arms and proclaimed, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.”
They haven’t won since.
The Indians have been hexed, too, with the not-so-well-known curse of Rocky Colavito. Just before the start of the 1960 season, the Indians traded Colavito, the American League home run leader the previous year, to the Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. What followed were decades of agony. The team was terrible, spawning the 1989 movie “Major League.”
This is the second time in franchise history the Indians will play a World Series Game 7. The last time ended in heartbreak, when they lost to the Florida (now Miami) Marlins in 1997. Indians closer Jose Mesa blew the save in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Edgar Renteria won it for the Marlins with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th.