4/6/1987 (cover date)
Sports Illustrated released its 1987 baseball preview with what is arguably the most infamous prediction in sports history. The cover showed a smiling Joe Carter and Cory Synder with “Indian Uprising” in big, bright yellow letters. The cover further declared, ” Believe It! Cleveland is the Best Team in the American League.”
For those of us old enough to remember, the season did not quite pan out as the writers at Sports Illustrated predicted. The Tribe finished with a league-worst record of 61-101, finishing dead last in the old American League East division. Coverboy Joe Carter was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise abysmal season (32 homers, 106 RBI and 31 steals). The offense hovered around league average in various categories, but pitching and defense killed them. The pitching staff allowed 957 runs that season. The most in nearly half a century. The team as a whole ranked near the bottom in nearly every pitching category. The defense did not help matters as it had the worst fielding percentage and second-most errors. Overall, it was a long season for those paying attention in Cleveland. However, judging from the attendance numbers, that may have not been too many people.