Some people who follow baseball are very superstitious, and the appearance of an animal on the field can be the catalyst for success or failure. These animals all found themselves in front of baseball crowds over the years, unknowingly changing the course of baseball history forever.
The Rally Squirrel first showed up to help the Cardinals take the World Series in 2011. Many believe this squirrel was the reason for the Cards winning the World Series that year because it helped turn the series around. In Game 4, St. Louis was looking down and out as this rodent appeared and began to take a liking to pitcher Roy Oswalt.
The squirrel ran across the batter’s box and helped the Cards win Game 4, before it made a surprise appearance in Game 5. Fans of the Cardinals took a shine to that squirrel, and it seems to get plenty of the credit for the Cardinal’s World Series win in 2011.
One unseasonably warm October in Cleveland brought about a swarm of midges that completely changed the face of a playoff game in MLB. The Yankees were in town and leading the game 1-0 in the eighth, and they had relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain on the mound who had been virtually unhittable in recent games.
It seemed like the Yankees were going to hold out for a win until the swarm hit and appeared to take a liking to the pitcher, and they were particularly drawn to his face. The midges put Chamberlain off so much that Cleveland found a way back into the game through the pitcher’s erratic throwing. He walked two batters, hit another, and had two wild pitches as Cleveland took the game in the 11th inning, sealing the series 3-1.
In 1945 a goat attended a game at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the World Series, and it even had its own ticket. The goat was appearing alongside its owner, William Sianis, the proprietor of the Billy Goat Tavern. During the game, some of the crowd began to loudly complain about the smell of the goat, which upset Sianis greatly, especially as the pair were asked to leave.
Sianis screamed to the crowd that the Cubs would never win another game, and when he left, he wrote a letter to Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley. That letter explained the Cubs would lose this World Series and would never win another championship again. The Cubs lost that World Series and didn’t win another again for 70 years.
A black cat
While the Cubs were in the middle of their curse following the goat incident, another animal took center place in the franchise’s folklore. During the 1969 season, the Cubs were out in front in their division when they played the second-placed team, the Mets.
In the fourth inning, a black cat ran out onto the field before disappearing almost immediately after bolting toward the Cubs’ dugout. The Cubs would lose this game, and lose their lead at the top of their division, missing out on the playoffs entirely. The Mets would win the division and go on to win the World Series too.