By In Stuff

The Worst Prediction Ever


Yes, it’s time to take out all those Cory Snyder rookie cards that you were sure would pay for your retirement home in the Bahamas. Let’s go back to that extraordinary year, 1987, when Sports Illustrated decided to highlight Chief Wahoo and pick Cleveland to win.

It was a life altering moment for me … and various other people such as Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, author of the recent Godfather books Mark Winegardner and various other Clevelanders who fell for this nonsense even though Cleveland was relying on Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton (combined age 4,943) to lead the pitching staff.

Indian Uprising? Really? It’s only 30 years ago that you could use THAT headline?

The Worst Prediction in Sports History



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20 Responses to The Worst Prediction Ever

  1. Josh says:

    I have a great deal of Native American ancestry and am not the least bit offended by Wahoo. I look at it more as a symbol of the strong, warrior people that some of my ancestors were. I think most reasonable people see it the same way. This faux outrage by the PC brigade is becoming tiresome. Want to advocate a worthy cause? How about the handicapped? Or the elderly? Or our veterans? I know your heart is in the right place Joe, but stick to your magical stories of sport. We know, Wahoo is racist.

    • invitro says:

      I think anyone offended by “Indian Uprising” needs to change their diaper, suck on a pacifier, and lie in their crib until they realize they’re being just a wee bit silly.

      • Maz says:

        You sound like you could use a timeout yourself.

      • Josh says:

        I was referring to the fact that every article Joe has written about Cleveland, he seems to harp on the inherent rascism of Cheif Wahoo. I just feel like he is beating a dead horse. It is a far bigger deal to him than it is for Native Americans.

        • kehnn13 says:

          That implies that you have the same viewpoint as the majority of native Americans. I would prefer to see more proof of that, rather than accepting the view of one person.

          • invitro says:

            “I would prefer to see more proof of that” — There are piles of proof easily available. You can start with the Washington Post study on Indians’ opinions on the Redskins name, the one that found that 90% of them didn’t find it offensive.

        • Grover Jones says:

          The American Equine Association takes issue with that metaphor!

          But you’re right.

        • MikeN says:

          It’s like with the reporters that write ‘Washington Professional Football Team’

    • Karyn says:

      I think you just spent more time whining about Joe’s calling out of racism than he did in the calling out. Maybe you should have used that time to advocate for the handicapped, elderly, or veterans.

      • invitro says:

        Are you talking about the “Indian Uprising” comment, or the dozens of articles Joe has written about the Indians’ name and logo? Because the latter certainly took a few orders of magnitude more time than Josh’s comment. But I can’t see how “Indian Uprising” is racist in any way, and Josh’s comment is about the dozens of articles so… I’m at a loss.

        • John Autin says:

          It’s racist because the phrase gets its resonance from the history of conflict between Euro/American settlers and the people who were here first, which conflict wound up as genocide. A sports reference to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising would be outside the pale, and so is this one.

  2. Cuban X Senators says:

    You know, I took Sport Magazine then. They ran an Indians cover for their baseball preview & had Cleveland winning at least the AL East.

    I think their text was “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” because (and this may have been what was so tempting about picking), if one counted the Yanks as winning the East in the ’81 split season, the other 6 teams in the division had each won a pennant in succession in ’81-’86.

    • invitro says:

      I think the major reason for the prediction was that the Indians went from 60 wins in 1985 to 84 wins in 1986. Conventional “wisdom” back then said that they had big momentum, and would probably keep improving, and win 90, especially with all their young players. I’m sure Bill James noted the opposite was true in his 1987 Abstract. Anyway, after winning 60 in 1987, they bounced back (again) to win 78 in 1988, so they were probably just in a rather extreme, yet common, cycle of over/under-achieving.

    • moviegoer74 says:

      I have always wondered this. There were 7 teams in the AL East in those days and they each took a turn winning the division from 1981 to 1986.

      1981: Yankees
      1982: Brewers
      1983: Orioles
      1984: Tigers
      1985: Blue Jays
      1986: Red Sox

      Was Sports Illustrated just thinking it was Cleveland’s turn? It had to have some impact, right?

  3. PhilM says:

    I was intrigued by the Neikro/Carlton game, but it turns out that they actually both pitched in the same game a week earlier, with Niekro getting the win and Carlton the save in a 14-3 game at Toronto on April 9. That marked the first time 300-game winners had pitched for the same team in the same game, so the April 14 Yankee Stadium game was an encore that didn’t turn out as favorably.

  4. I love this tag: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.” I’d love to hear the story of how it came about someday.

    • Llarry says:

      Nothing special. That’s a standard disclaimer at, on most articles. I think it just means that the teams and commissioner’s office don’t get to go over them before they’re posted.

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