Thursday, August 12, 2004

Baseball strike of 1994-95 timeline

The basics of the baseball strike:

When: The players walked out Aug. 12, 1994. The rest of the season, including the World Series, was called off Sept 14. It was the eighth work stoppage in baseball history.

Why: Citing a worsening financial situation in baseball, the owners were demanding a salary cap. The players were adamant they would never accept such a thing. The dispute was played out with a backdrop of years of hostility and mistrust between the two sides.

"We felt in '94 we were pushed into it," said Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I still think that's a justified conclusion."

How long: The strike lasted 234 days, dragging into the next spring. Baseball became the first sport in history to lose its postseason to a labor dispute.

The cost on the field: Besides the obvious financial losses, baseball also ruined a season of fascinating possibility. The unsung Montreal Expos were six games ahead in first place in the National League East. San Diego's Tony Gwynn had a batting average of .394, making him a contender to become the first .400 hitter in 43 years. San Francisco's Matt Williams had 43 home runs and was on pace to hit 61, challenging Roger Maris' record four years before Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did so.

Back to baseball: The strike ended when a federal judge issued an injunction against the owners. The 1995 season resumed April 25 under the conditions of the expired contract.

By Mike Lopresti, Gannett News Service

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