Their new owner hated Cleveland. She, in a shrewd and calculated move, invited the worst baseball players she could drum up to spring training. She wanted the team to lose so she could loophole her way out of Cleveland and find a sunnier venue for 82 games a season.
The team to start the season for those fictitious Cleveland Indians were every combination of washed-up, young, inexperienced, Prima Donna, and for one in particular, really bad eyesight.
But despite their quirks, their voodoo rituals, their inability to hit and a catcher with more surgery than knee to cut open, they came together and rallied for one of the greatest divisional comebacks in fake MLB history. A feel-good movie, Major League illustrates some very real challenges in the very real MLB: absentee and/or ulterior-motive owners, lack of talent and depth, and the incalculable value of team chemistry.
And those 1989 Cleveland Indians in Major League aren’t the only ones to overcome great odds and climb up the standings to claim a late-season division title in epic fashion.
In 1995, the Seattle Mariners trailed the L.A. Angels (or Anaheim Angels, or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) by 13 games on August 3rd. The team screamed through the final two months of the season with a 35-10 record, won the division, and played in their first postseason since the team’s inception.
Back in the sixties– 1964– the St. Louis Cardinals, headlined by the great Bob Gibson, overcame an 11-game deficit after August 24th, going 39-11 to end their season and earn their division pennant.
Then, just five years later in 1969, the Miracle New York Mets climbed out of a 10-game hole from August 14th onwards. And not only that, but the Mets carried that comeback into the playoffs, beating the Orioles of Baltimore in the World Series.
Though it’s rare for an MLB team to overcome a 10+ game deficit in the final two months of an MLB season, miracles do happen. Teams find their stride, get hot at the ride time, and ride the wave to a division title. And even though the Indians of Major League only received 107 minutes to tell their story, they illustrate an important confidence in all of major sports: you’re not out of it ’til your out of it. And, if you can’t see the catchers mitt, get fitted for contacts.