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Don Kessinger on the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ and its effect on the 1969 Cubs

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Let me just start with this: I’m not a superstitious guy. To be honest, baseball players are supposed to be superstitious. But that was just not the way I felt. I didn’t see things that way — superstitiously — and I still don’t.

But, man, when we didn’t win that pennant, everybody — I mean, everybody — started talking about the “Curse of the Billy Goat” and things like that. Maybe I was the only one who didn’t know that was why we lost. I guess I still don’t really view the windup of that season like that.

Remember the “black cat” deal in New York? When the cat walked out between our dugout and the field with Ron Santo in the on-deck circle, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, no — a black cat!” What got me was, how in the world did somebody get a black cat to do that? The whole thing was comical to me. I marveled at the ingenuity of whoever did that.

In retrospect, I really didn’t know anything about the so-called “curse.” I guess it was a Chicago thing. I guess we were struggling so much at that point that we’d take anything as a reason for struggling. I just know that I was a lot more worried in that September series against the Mets about how we were going to hit against Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.

Before then, when everything was going good, I think we were just sure — not in a cocky way — that we were going to win the pennant. Even on flights, when we were going from one place to the next, there was just a confidence, a bonding with a great group of guys that liked each other. I’m still surprised we didn’t win it.