Feb 25th in baseball history-GETTING ALONG

1973 | NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Maybe major league baseball – players and owners – learned their lesson. There were eight work stoppages from 1972 to 1995, a span of 23 years, none since, a span of 22 years.

It could be because the last work stoppage, which started in 1994, almost destroyed the game. It wiped out the entire post season, including the World Series.

Players and owners alike knew fans were becoming disenchanted, or worse, indifferent, to the annual spring labor rituals.

There was good news on this date in 1973. The players’ union and team owners announced a new three-year agreement ending a lockout by the owners at the start of spring training. The ‘73 agreement instituted what has become as common as the hit & run – arbitration. After so many years in the league a player who couldn’t agree on a salary with his team could take the issue to arbitration.

Everyone was relieved with the ’73 agreement. Players and owners alike knew fans were becoming disenchanted, or worse, indifferent, to the annual spring labor rituals. Besides 1972 and 1973, there were work stoppages in 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990 and the devastating strike in 1994-95. Since 1995 – harmony. Knock on wood.

Contributing sources:
Herschel Nissenson, Associated Press (AP), The Gettysburg Times, February 26, 1973
“Pro Sports Lockouts and Strikes Fast Facts,” CNN, May 30, 2016

Dec 23, 1994 – THE DARK DAYS

NEW YORK, NEW YORK • It was not a good time for major league baseball. As a players’ strike dragged into its fourth month on this date in 1994, the owners declared an impasse and imposed a salary cap just before Christmas.

The strike had abruptly ended the previous season in August. For the first time since 1904 there was no World Series. Fans were not pleased.

As far as the owners were concerned, “players had attained a position of bargaining power that inflated salaries beyond reason.”

As Leonard Koppett describes in Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, “distrust was the central issue.” As far as the owners were concerned, “players had attained a position of bargaining power that inflated salaries beyond reason.” The players’ position was that the owners reneged on an earlier agreement, lied about MLBs finances and were simply trying to break the union.

The strike ended in April of 1995. As the following list indicates, average salaries went down, considerably for some teams immediately after the strike.

Team…………………………….1994…………..1995
Detroit Tigers……………$1.3M………..$225,000
New York Yankees……$1.3M………….$531,000
Atlanta Braves………….$750,000…….$550,000
Chicago White Sox……$750,000…….$775,000
Philadelphia Phillies…$750,000…….$250,000
Kansas City Royals……$700,000…….$300,000
San Francisco Giants…$700,000…….$325,000
Boston Red Sox………….$650,000……..$282,500
Cleveland Indians………$650,000…….$725,000
Baltimore Orioles………$637,500……..$387,500
Los Angeles Dodgers….$600,000…….$287,500
St. Louis Cardinals……..$587,500…….$300,000
Toronto Blue Jays………$530,000……..$425,000
Cincinnati Reds………….$500,000……. $600,000
Texas Rangers……………$475,000……. $270,000
Oakland Athletics……….$413,500……..$235,000
Los Angeles Angels…….$400,000……..$185,000
Milwaukee Brewers……$350,000……..$158,000
Houston Astros…………..$340,000……..$185,000
Chicago Cubs………………$300,000……..$240,000
New York Mets……………$290,000……..$210,000
Seattle Mariners………….$275,000……..$275,000
Minnesota Twins………..$262,500……..$167,500
Florida Marlins…………..$230,000……..$185,000
Colorado Rockies…………$224,000…….$350,000
Washington Nationals…$200,000…….$185,000
Pittsburgh Pirates………..$192,500……..$225,000
San Diego Padres…………$167,500……..$200,500

But it didn’t take long for average player salaries to skyrocket again. They are  in another stratosphere today. The average player salary in 1995 was just over $1-Million. An Associated Press study of salaries at the start of the 2016 season showed average player salaries had more than quadrupled to $4.4-Million.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES: 
CBSsports.com  
Leonard Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, by Leonard Koppett, 1998

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