When the Houston Astros clinched the team’s first-ever World Series championship just a minute or two shy of midnight on the East Coast on Wednesday night, they fulfilled a prophecy that had been laid out by Sports Illustrated — three years ago.
The cover of a June 2014 issue of the magazine featured the headline “Your 2017 World Series Champs” with a photo of Astros outfielder George Springer, who, ya know, just won the 2017 World Series MVP award.
Insert your favorite Back to the Future II joke here.
What makes this prophecy so remarkable is that the Astros were in the midst of a terrible run that saw them become the worst team in baseball, losing more than 100 games each season from 2011 through 2013. (In 2014, when this cover appeared, they faired only a little better, going 70-92).
It was also George Springer’s rookie year, though, and part of an Astros rebuild thanks to three straight years of having the number one overall draft pick thanks to that terrible stretch.
That SI article was all about the rebuild in progress and what it could (would!) lead to for Houston. You can actually still read Ben Reiter’s in-depth look at how the Astros were rebuilding back then. Not all of the players stuck around long enough to drink champagne in L.A. on Wednesday night, but the biggest names did.
In a follow-up piece for SI, Reiter said of that bold 2017 prediction:
We settled on 2017 because the Astros’ young nucleus would by then be reaching its prime, because it seemed to more or less hew to the front office’s own timeline—which, they promised, would eventually include a payroll hike—and because three years, in baseball, is actually not the blink of an eye.
And SI is certainly trying to cash in on its clairvoyance, putting that now-legendary cover up for sale so Astros fans can brag, “Yeah, I knew it all along.”
The internet, too, was blown away by the prediction… and had a little fun, too.
The 2014 SI Astros cover would be amazing enough. The fact that it’s probable World Series MVP George Springer on the cover? Come on, now.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 2, 2017
The 2014 SI Astros cover is cool especially bc it’s gonna lead to a huge uptick in magazines making horrendous predictions on their covers
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) November 2, 2017
Even if the Astros win that Sports Illustrated cover is going to end being wrong because this game won’t end until 2018.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 2, 2017
All hail the Astros, baseball champions from the future.
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