5 of the Strangest Traditions in Sports

How Animals became part of Sports Superstitions

Sports, especially Baseball and Hockey have some weird traditions and/or superstitions; many involve animals of some type or another.

1. During the 1995-1996 NHL Hockey season, Florida Panther Scott Mellanby saw a rat in the locker room while waiting to get on the ice. He didI guess what most of us would do; he hit it with his stick and killed it. Later in the gamehe scored two goals with that stick. While the Panthers did not win the Stanley Cup that year they did make it to the playoffs, as did the tradition of the “Rat Trick”. A tradition that while it was short lived made the club some big bucks. Selling plastic rats at home games soared and with that thousand of toy rats on the ice every time Florida scored a goal. Due to stalled games (they had to clean the ice) the sale and tossing of the plastic rats came to a halt.

2. Another hockey scoring tradition was tossing of the octopus, real octopus whenever a Detroit Red Wing scored a Hat Trick (three goals in one game). Back in the day when there were only six hockey teams in the NHL only 2 sets of best of seven playoffs were held, so you needto win eight games to win the Cup. As a symbol of the eight games the eight leg octopus wastossed on the ice with every hat trick, and not just one either.

3. One time New York Met relief pitcher thought the best way to win a game was by wearing a necklace made up off teeth from wild animals he hunted and killed.

4. The Chicago Cubs had two animal related superstitions. The first is the well-known Billy Goat Curse. Back in Game four of the 1945 World Series when the Cubs were up two games to oneagainst the Detroit Tigers their hopes were shattered. The owner of a diner in Chicago known as the Billie Goat Tavern bought two tickets for the game at Wrigley Field. I actually ate at the Billie Goat Tavern often and loved seeing sports writers, reporters, etc hang out there and it was just a cool place to go. Anyway, when the owner showed up he was not allowed in the to see the game. Security told him even though he had two tickets, the tickets were only for human beings not Billy goats because goats stink. The tavern owner was so upset he screamed that the Cubs would never again win a world series. There is much more to that story and I plan to do an article on it when the baseball season progresses, but to some it up; the Cubs didn’t win that world series or and series since.

5. To expand on the Cub Curse, but with another animal the Cubs were cursed a second time in 1969. The Cubs were red hot that year. A team filled with future hall of famers including Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. They were up by nine and a half games the beginning of September, then it happened; a black cat strolled up to their dugout and that began a nine game loosing streak and they ended up in second place, eight games behind the New York Mets. The say two miracles happened that year; man landed on the moon and the Mets won the World Series.