Baseball Curses

Counting down the most infamous curses in professional baseball history

Billy goats, Colonel Sanders statues, and players long dead or forgotten - they still affect some teams, if you believe in curses. Some are active, and some have been exorcised. Below are some of the most infamous in baseball history.

01
of 09

Curse of the Billy Goat, Chicago Cubs (1945–Present)

Fans interfere with outfielder Moises Alou of the Chicago Cubs on a ball hit by Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on October 14, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Elsa/Getty Images

Derived from: In 1945, a Cubs fan wanted to bring a goat to a World Series game. Angry because he couldn't, he put a hex on the Cubs declaring there's never be another World Series game played at Wrigley Field. So far, he's right.

Broken: Not yet. The Billy Goat last appeared as a fan named Steve Bartman in 2003, when he interfered with a catch in left field during the National League Championship Series, allowing the Florida Marlins to rally to win.

Fans put an A's hat on a picture of Babe Ruth before the Oakland Athletics take on the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 8, 2004 at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Derived from: In 1920, the cash-strapped Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 and a $300,000 loan. The Red Sox had won four World Series in the previous eight seasons. From 1920 to 2003, the Yankees won 26 titles and the Red Sox won 0. The curse became part of Red Sox lore and the most famous curse in sports.

Broken: In 2004, the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the AL Championship Series, then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. More »

03
of 09

Curse of the Black Sox, Chicago White Sox (1919-2005)

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen waves to fans during a ticker-tape parade for the White Sox on October 28, 2005 in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years, breaking the Black Sox curse. Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Derived from: In the pockets of gamblers, the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Eight players were banished from baseball and the commissioner's office was created because of it.

Broken: A year after the Bambino came down, so did the Black Sox, when the White Sox beat the Astros in the 2005 World Series.

Pitcher Craig Counsell of the Florida Marlins celebrates after scoring the winning run on an Edgar Renteria RBI single to defeat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 after 11 innings during Game 7 of the 1997 World Series at Pro Player Stadium in Miami. Harry How /Allsport

Derived from: The Indians traded their most popular player (slugger Colavito) in 1960 to Detroit for a washed-up Harvey Kuehn. And the Indians didn't even sniff a playoff berth for more than 30 years after being one of the better AL teams in the 1950s.

Broken: Not yet. The Indians made the World Series in 1995 and were two outs away from a title in 1997, but lost after closer Jose Mesa blew a ninth-inning lead in Game 7 against the Florida Marlins. And the Indians lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS in 2007 after taking a 3-1 series lead. More »

A fan of the Anaheim Angels holds a sign with a rally monkey hanging on the back of a picture of Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants during Game 7 of the World Series on Oct. 27, 2002 at Edison Field in Anaheim, Calif. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Derived from: Eddie Grant was a New York Giants outfielder who died in World War I. He was honored with a center-field plaque at the Polo Grounds, but his plaque was lost when the Giants moved to San Francisco. The Giants have not won a World Series since.

Broken: Not yet. But the Giants have tried to create a replica plaque (which cracked twice during its construction). It now is installed next to a ballpark elevator at AT&T Park. More »

New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly hits during an American League Division Series game against the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 8, 1995. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Derived from: Don Mattingly, one of the most popular players in Yankees history, can't seem to buy a break when it comes to championships. The Yankees made the World Series the year before he broke into the majors, and won the World Series the year after he retired in 1996. They won again in 1998, 1999 and 2000, and pennants in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Mattingly returned to the Yankees as hitting coach in 2004, and they haven't won a pennant since, even blowing a 3-0 ALCS lead in 2004.

Broken: Yankees fans are hopeful. Mattingly left the Yankees for a job with the Dodgers before the 2008 season. More »

A statue of former Angels owner Gene Autry stands outside of Edison International Field during the game between the Anaheim Angels and the Minnesota Twins in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 12, 2002. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Derived from: The cowboy was Gene Autry, and he was the owner of the Angels for the first 30 years of its history. It was rumored that Anaheim Stadium was built on top of a Native American burial ground, and the Angels had hard luck when it mattered.

Broken: The curse spawned tragic characters (Lyman Bostock in 1978 and Donnie Moore in 1986) until the Rally Monkey extinguished it in 2002, when the Angels beat the Giants for the franchise's first World Series title. Autry died in 1998. More »

Fans of the Hanshin Tigers threw a Colonel Sanders statue like this one into a canal in celebration of a championship in 1985, and have attempted to rescue the statue ever since. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Derived from: Baseball curses even extend to Japan. The Curse of the Colonel actually involves an iconic American ad spokesman, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. The curse was placed by the Colonel because one of his store-front ​statues in Japan was thrown into a canal during a Hanshin Tigers fan celebration (the colonel represented bearded Tigers player Kevin Bass, an American player).​​

Broken: Not yet. Fans have made attempts to recover the statue in the canal, but so far, they haven't recovered it. And the Tigers haven't won a championship. More »

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out against the Cleveland Indians during Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 8, 2007. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Derived from: Alex Rodriguez is the best player in baseball, but has yet to win a pennant despite making the playoffs six times.

Broken: Not yet. See above on the Donnie Baseball reference. Maybe we'll see which one is stronger. More »