The Lutheran Curse

I need to preface today’s blog by stating that what I write today is definitely done with tongue in cheek.  It is not meant to stir up anger, but to inspire a few chuckles.  However, anytime the topic involves the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, there is potential for upset feelings.  It is my hope to just have some fun with a few trivial historic facts.

First of all, let me state that I am and always have been a Cardinal fan.  As such, it is part of my metabolism to consider the Chicago Cubs to be my nemesis.  My father died several years ago.  He lived to be 94 years of age.  He is buried with his Cardinal’s cap.  My father lived his entire long life without ever seeing the Cubs win a World Series.  I have often said that it is my hope to do the same.

As most of you know, this year the Cubs have done something which has been quite rare for them.  They have managed to clinch first place in the Central Division of the National League.

There has been plenty written about why the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.  There is a story about a curse involving a goat.  There is a story about Steve Bartman who supposedly kept the Cubs from winning.  I happen to back the theory that the extended losing streak of the Cubs is due to the Lutheran Curse.  Let me explain.

The last time the Cubs won the World Series, they played their games at West Side Park.  This field was about three blocks away from Immanuel First Lutheran Church.  Earlier in that church’s history, Theodore Ernst Buenger was the teacher and principal of their school, and Rev. J.A.F.W. Mueller (also known as Alphabet Mueller)  was their pastor.  The stadium was sold out for those World Series games, so several members of Immanuel climbed to the bell tower of their rather tall steeple to watch the games.  In 1908, the Cubs actually won it all, and these loyal Lutheran Cub fans were elated.

westside1908
West Side Park – the steeple in the background may be Immanuel Lutheran

Not many years later, the Cubs ownership decided to move the team to a location on the North side of Chicago.  But before I tell that story, let me set this up.

On a parcel of land on the North side, a group of Lutherans (not Missouri Synod) had constructed several buildings that were part of a seminary complex.  There was a classroom building, a president’s home, and dormitories.

chicago_lutheran_theological_seminary_circa_1900

This was all taking place in the 1890’s.  After the turn of the century, the people operating the seminary were getting concerned about how that neighborhood was getting busier and noisier.  Long story short, they decided to sell their property and relocate in a quieter spot.  They sold the property to a group that planned to build a new park in which to play baseball, which by this time was becoming quite a popular sport.  After the property was bought, they built what was first called Weeghman Park.  Here is what that park looked like the first year it was used.

weeghman_park_outfield_april_1914

Notice that one of the seminary buildings is still seen in this photo beyond the left field wall.  Even before the first season was complete, the owners realized the left field bleachers were too close, and the wall had to be moved back.

1914_weeghman_park_left_field

To do so, the porch of that hall had to be removed.  The rest of the story is that this field has been expanded over the years, and its name has been changed to Wrigley Field, and the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since.

One other fact has to be mentioned.  After some time went by, some of the people involved with the Lutheran seminary supposedly found out that the $175,000 that they received for the sale of their seminary property should have been more in the range of $200,000.  Thus, they were perturbed by this fact.

That leads me to talk about the Lutheran Curse.  The faithful followers of the Cubs who went to great extremes to watch their beloved team felt abandoned when the Cubs moved to Wrigley.  Another set of Lutherans felt short-changed by the baseball owners.  Thus the Lutheran powers that be determined to place a curse on Wrigley Field and the team that plays their home games there.  Instead, a Lutheran blessing was placed upon the team that played in the city that housed the headquarters of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  It was also a place that brewed a lot of beer.  As a result, the Cardinals have won more World Series titles than any other National League teams.

Now the Cubs fans may want to know if they have any recourse in this matter.  I say that there is.  I have done the math.  I figure that the proper ransom payment for the release of this curse is the desired amount of $200,000.  And I figure the proper recipient of this ransom money ought to be the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum in Altenburg.  You may find ways to get your payments here by checking out the options under the “Support PCLHS” tab on this website.

Blessings to the Cardinals…….and maybe even the Cubs, assuming the ransom is paid.


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