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Wednesday February 24, 2010 9:23 pm

Sports’ biggest busted curses

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB, NHL, Rumors,

Babe RuthSports and superstition go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly. Some athletes believe that “lucky” equipment isn’t allowed to be washed or the team will lose, or that the right batting glove must always be put on before the left. But there is also the darker side of sport superstition – the curses. For whatever reason, thousands of people believe that a hex exists on their favorite teams, which has prevented them from winning major championships for decades, but even the strongest curses can be broken.

One of the biggest curses was the Curse of the Bambino. It started in 1918 when the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. At that point, the Yankees were a lackluster franchise while the Sox were incredibly successful, having won five World Series since 1903 and four of the previous seven. Afterwards, the Yankees went on to enjoy decade after decade of World Series titles. The Red Sox wouldn’t return to the World Series until 1946, and would take a full 86 years to break the curse when they finally won in 2004, sweeping St. Louis four games to none. The spirit of the Bambino could finally rest in peace.

The Curse of the Black Sox began in 1919, when the Black Sox scandal resulted in several Chicago White Sox players being suspended by baseball. The Sox failed to make the playoffs after being in first place with less than a week left in the season, and over the next decade, would fall to the bottom of their division repeatedly. In 1959, the Sox won their first pennant since the curse began, and many believed it to be lifted, but a six-game World Series loss rejuvenated the hex. In 2005, the Sox returned to the World Series for the first time since 1959 and swept the Houston Astros and ended the jinx, one year after Boston swept the Cardinals to break their curse.

Curses aren’t restricted to baseball. The NHL has its share, one of the biggest being the Curse of Pete Muldoon against the Chicago Blackhawks in 1926. Muldoon was the first coach hired by owner Frederic McLaughlin, and despite his team’s scoring more goals than any other in the league, McLaughlin fired Muldoon because the Hawks did not finish in first place. Muldoon then told McLaughlin that he was placing an Irish curse on the club that would keep them from ever finishing first. Despite several good seasons and three Stanley Cups, it wasn’t until Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita showed up for the 1967 that the Hawks took first place – 23 years after Frederic McLaughlin passed away.



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