Monday, September 14, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame…or Not - Commissioner Bud Selig Announces the Cancellation of the 1994 Baseball Season due to a Strike by Players

September 14th also marks the 15th anniversary of the cancelation of the 1994 baseball season after a strike by players. The main dispute was between Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners vs. the players. Selig and the owners wanted to impose a salary cap on the league, and the players wanted nothing of the kind. The strike lasted from August 12, 1994 to April 2, 1995. At the end of the day, Judge Sonia Santomayor (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court) issued an injunction against the owners, which prevented the salary cap and effectively ended the strike before the start of the 1995 season.

Click here to read an interesting editorial by David Gregory on the legacy of the 1994 strike. For one thing, the Montreal Expos were the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike, and the strike clearly denied them a shot at the World Series. Fifteen years afterward, the Expos have been reborn as the Washington Nationals. Who knows if the Expos would still exist had they been able to chase a World Series in 1994 and energize a whole new contingent of their fan base? Overall, it would be hard to calculate how much the teams and players lost in ad revenue, ticket sales and merchandise, but most of all: in the all important area of self-respect. With the start of the 1995 season, the anger felt by fans across the nation was evident as many felt that Americans lost out on their national pastime for no other reason than the shared greed of players and owners. Fans booed at season openers, and many were soured on the sport for good. Did the strike achieve anything lasting? Did it change the game for the worse? I can’t say, but I’m certainly open to opinions.

[Image via gooseradio]

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