Cubs vs Indians: The Stuff Of Movies Is Now Happening In Real Life

The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have the dubious honor of holding the longest World Series droughts among all 30 Major League Baseball teams. But both clubs have done pretty well for themselves on the big screen, where fictionalized versions of themselves have done what the real-life teams have failed to do for decades: End the suffering of their loyal fans.

In honor of these two teams meeting in the World Series - which starts tonight - here's a look back at each club's movie history.

1. Elmer, the Great! (1933)

Based on a hit play of the same name, Elmer, the Great! tells the cheesy story of a country bumpkin who becomes the savior of the Chicago Cubs, carrying the struggling team on his back to the World Series. But the biggest challenge he faces isn't in the batter's box. It's dodging gamblers and crooked players who try to rig the game against the Cubs.

In hindsight, this movie is almost cruel. When it was released, the Cubs' World Series drought was 25 years. If only moviegoers knew the years of pain that lay ahead...

2. The Kid from Cleveland (1949)

This sentimental movie tells the story of a troubled teen who gets his life back on track with the help of his favorite team: the Cleveland Indians. The film features actual members of the ball club, who were hot off their 1948 World Series win at the time. And producers milked their fame by including archival footage of the '48 series against the Boston Braves.

Ironically, the movie was released in year one of the club's current 68-year playoff drought. So instead of celebrating the team, the archive footage really emphasizes just how long the club has struggled.

3. Back to the Future II (1989)

The time-travel series starring Michael J. Fox isn't about baseball. But the Chicago Cubs play a pivotal point in the plot of the franchise's second instalment. When Marty McFly (Fox) finds out that the Cubs won the 2015 World Series, he hatches a plan to make a fortune by using his knowledge of the future to gamble on major sporting events when he gets back home in the 80s. 

Of course, the most remarkable thing about that scene is the movie's prediction. If the Cubs beat the Indians this year, "Back to the Future II" will have only been one year off in its World Series prediction.

4. Major League (1989)

Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Wesley Snipes take the field in Major League. The movie tells the underdog story about the Cleveland Indians overcoming the odds and making the playoffs - to the chagrin of their owner, who wants to relocate the struggling team to Miami. But their unexpected success revives an apathetic fanbase and foiled her plans.

SPOILER ALERT: The movie ends with the Indians beating the New York Yankees in a tiebreaker that will settle which team moves on to the playoffs. It's almost as if the producers thought they should save the World Series for a sequel... 

5. Major League II (1994)

Oh, look at that. The ragtag team is back in Major League II. But they've become too big for their striped britches after making the playoffs the year before - even though they were eliminated by the Chicago White Sox. So the biggest challenge in the season ahead is not letting egos get in the way of the World Series.

Incidentally, when Cleveland clinched a spot in the 2016 World Series, Charlie Sheen volunteered to reprise his roll as Indians pitcher Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. But Cleveland declined. So if they lose, don't be surprised if "The Curse of Charlie" starts trending.

6. Rookie of the Year (1993)

In Rookie of the Year, 12 year old Henry Rowengartner goes from Cubs fan to phenom after a freak accident gives him a pitching arm that's worthy of the major leagues. Along the way to the World Series, Henry inspires an apathetic Cubs team - especially a washed up pitcher played by Gary Busey, who spends most of the movie grunting. Seriously, Busey sounds like he can't speak without causing a hernia. 

Banner image: Fans at Wrigley Field (Ffooter /


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