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Indian Givers

It's very hard to predict a World Series champion.

If you picked one at random each year, you'd have slightly better than a three percent chance of being right.

I've found from soliciting picks from friends and colleagues over the years, that if you actually think you know something at baseball, your chances are a little better. Unscientifically speaking, I'd put them at about five percent.

I bring this up because the baseball preview of Sports Illustrated has come out, and it picks the Mets to win the World Series. Lucky us.

I wanted to track Sports Illustrated's prediction history, because while I know it's not good, I can't put a number to it. Going through their archives proved to be a little more frustrating than I predicted (pardon the pun).

Some people seem to be a little nervous about the magazine picking the Mets. The roots of that go back a little ways.

In 1987, Sports Illustrated predicted that the Indians would be the best team in the American League. The cover proclaimed an "Indian Uprising!" and touted Joe Carter (good pick) and Cory Snyder (eh). The writers and editors were careful to hedge. The mag actually picked the Mets to win the World Series, an errant pick, though not an awful one, all things considered (guess they didn't know about Dwight Gooden's drug suspension...announced 22 years ago yesterday).

That same issue had a lengthy piece reliving Game 6 of the World Series, with commentary from most of the pertinent participants.

So it seems fair that we can call the pick of the 1987 Indians a Bucknerian blunder.

The 1987 Indians started 1-10. At that point in the season, they were 10 games out of first place. They failed to post a winning record against any team they played. They could hit a little bit, but they had a team ERA of 5.28 and their first basemen made 24 errors (note: that's not good). Their top winner had seven victories and their top reliever had eight saves. They weren't quite the 1962 Mets, but they were bad. They finished with a record of 61 wins and 101 losses.

But their is one way that I am hoping that the 2009 Mets emulate the 1987 Indians. The 1987 Indians had one positive skill in which they excelled in a matter better than all but one squad in Mets history. They had a flare for the dramatic.

For those of you who believe in jinxes, it may upset you to know that the Indians tied for the major league lead in walk-off wins that season. In fact, no Indians squad since has done any better. You know how many walk-off wins the 1987 Indians had?


True Metdians know...Members of the 1987 Indians who played for the Mets at some point were: Brett Butler, Pat Tabler, Julio Franco, Jay Bell, Junior Noboa, Dave Gallagher, and Jeff Kaiser.


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