Back to the Future Prediction

Rumor: The 1987 film Back to the Future predicted a 2015 Cubs-Marlins World Series

Claim:   The 1987 film Back to the Future II correctly predicted that the Florida Marlins would win the 1997 World Series and that the Cubs would play Florida in the 2015 World Series.



[Collected on the Internet, 1997]

If any of you remember the movie "Back to the Future II" you will recall that Biff goes to the future and steals a Sports Almanac, where in turn he goes back to the past to give it to young Biff. As we all know Young Biff was able to become very wealthy by betting on games where he already knew the final score. In an obscure line you hear young Biff say "Florida is going to win the World Series in 1997, yeah right". This movie came out in 1987, ten years before the Marlins did actually win the world series. And what's really weird is that Florida didn't even have a baseball team in 1987.

The Marlins didn't even exist at the time.

Scary, huh?

Hey, if anyone has a copy of "Back to the Future" or remembers the film, think back to when Michael J. Fox traveled to the future, and saw the huge billboard proclaiming: MIAMI WINS WORLD SERIES 1997

[Collected on the Internet, 2015]

"Back to the Future II" predicted a Cubs World Series win?

Origins:   As intriguing as it might be to believe so, the film Back to the Future II, the first sequel to the hit 1985 movie Back to the Future, made no prediction, correct or otherwise, about the results of the 1997 World Series. At the beginning of the film, time-travelling scientist Doc Brown takes Marty McFly forward in time to 21 October 2015 in an effort to alter the future and prevent Marty's (as yet unborn) children from ending up in prison. While in the future year 2015, Marty watches a holographic sports news broadcast announcing that the Chicago Cubs have swept an unnamed Miami team (represented by a gator, not a marlin) to win the World Series. This broadcast inspires Marty to buy a sports almanac and take it back to the past with him so that he can make accurate bets on future sporting events, but the contents of the almanac are not revealed in the

This rumor began to spread on the Internet in October 1997, immediately after the Florida Marlins (who are based in Miami) defeated the Cleveland Indians to win World Series, either started as a joke or spread by someone who inaccurately remembered the news broadcast scene described above. One version of the rumor has the character Biff, who ultimately ends up with the almanac, commenting on the 1997 entry (as described in the example above), but he actually makes no such statement in the film. In fact, it would make little sense for him to utter such a comment, since it is the 1955 Biff who looks through the almanac to use in placing bets. He'd be unlikely to look at the results of a World Series that would not take place for 42 years and utter, "Yeah, right," as if the outcome described were improbable. (Nor would Marty be likely to see a billboard describing the results of the 1997 World Series in the year 2015.)

The broadcast shown in the film merely pokes some light-hearted fun at the ongoing futility of the Chicago Cubs, who haven't played in a World Series since 1945 (or won a World Series since 1908). Predicting in 1989 (which is when the film was actually released, not 1987 as claimed) that Miami would have a major league baseball team in 2015
wasn't much of a stretch, as they were one of the largest metropolitan areas in the USA without a baseball team in 1989, and they were indeed awarded an expansion franchise just two years later.

With the Cubs approaching within a game of capturing the 2003 National League pennant in a series against the Florida Marlins, this rumor surfaced again, updated with the claim that Back to the Future II somehow predicted a Cubs victory over Florida in 2003. The film makes no reference to the year 2003 whatsoever, and the only information presented about a Cubs series victory applies to the year 2015.

This latter form of the rumor resurfaced again in October 2015, when the Cubs finally reached the National League Championship Series (NLCS) again, putting them four wins away from appearing in their first World Series in seventy years. This iteration was quite intruiging, as Back to the Future II includes a scene in which Marty McFly views a holographic news broadcast announcing that the Cubs have defeated Miami to win the 2015 World Series:

The Cubs' finally getting back into a World Series didn't come to pass in 2015 (they lost the NLDS to the New York Mets), and even they had, the Cubs wouldn't have been matched up against a Florida team in the Fall Classic (since the Marlins and Cubs are both National League teams, and the Tampa Bay Rays weren't in the playoffs).

In 2004, on the day before what was to be the final game of that year's World Series, an updating of the rumor predicting Boston's winning the title in four games over St. Louis was circulated. (The rumor wasn't that much of a stretch, given that at the time they were leading the series three games to none.) Supposedly in Back to the Future II, Biff reads this startling news in the sports almanac he poaches from Marty and uses to make himself wealthy. Other versions of the rumor didn't specify the number of games, they just posited the Red Sox triumphing over the Cardinals.

Last updated:   21 October 2015

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