Baseball Is In the Midst of 12th Game Stopping Incident in MLB History
The American Sporting World came to a standstill last week.
In response to the world-wide epidemic of COVID-19, Major League Baseball joined with other leagues and colleges, and put spring training on hold, while announcing the Major League season would be pushed back "at least" two weeks, with speculation it won't begin before May, if that soon.
A stop in play in baseball is not common, but this is at least the 11th time the game has been put on hold, the first time for medical reasons. Baseball has been impacted by seven work stoppages, World War I, the 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers, and an earthquake.
Baseball was played from start to finish during World War II, president Franklin D. Roosevelt determining that it was good for the American public to have a sense of normalcy. Baseball was easily the most popular sport in the United States in the 1940s. And 500 Major League players, including future Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Pee Wee Reese and Hank Greenberg, along with 2,000 minor league players, left to join the military, according to the American Veterans Center.
The game, however, went on.
Stoppages of MLB Play
World War I
While World War I began in August of 1914, it was not until after 1917 that the United States joined forces with its European Allies in a war that would come to an end on Nov. 11, 1918. As a result of the loss of key players, including Grover Cleveland Alexander, Red Faber, Jud Wilson and Harry Heilman, baseball shortened its season. The final game was played on Labor Day. Teams finished the regular season having played as few as the 123 games as the St. Louis Browns to as many as the 131 games played by both the Cubs and Cardinals. .
1972 Player Strike
In it's first major move, the players ignored the recommendation of Major League Baseball Players Association leader Marvin Miller and went to strike over the contribution of Major League Baseball to the player pension plan. The 13-day strike resulted in the loss of 86 games. And it's impact? Well, Detroit won the AL East with an 86-70 record, a half-game ahead of Boston, which was 85-70.
1973 Owners Lockout of Spring Camps
This was much ado about nothing. The players were pushing for arbitration, and the owners resisted, locking players out of spring training. Eventually, however, the two sides were able to work out a three-deal contract, the players winning the right to arbitration.
1976 Free Agency
The owners lost their fight to retain the reserve clause, first with arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in favor of the players on Dec. 23, 1925, granting free agency to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, opening the way to free agency. Six weeks later, federal judge John Oliver ruled in support of Seitz's ruling. Ownership locked the players out for the first two weeks of the 1976 spring training, but finally relented. No regular season games were missed.
1980 Player Strike
The players wiped out the final eight days of spring training by going on strike, but agreed to be ready Opening Day with the contingency that a new Basic Agreement had to be reached by May 23. While the two sides never agree on free-agent compensation, they did agree on everything else, and baseball avoided an in-season walkout.
1981 Player Strike
The disappointment of not landing an agreement on free-agent compensation left baseball with an ugly scene in 1981. When ownership instituted free agent compensation of a draft choice and a player without approval from the players, the players went on strike June 11 that year, and stayed out through. The result was a post-season, which began with the first-half and second-half champions in each league playing each other. And it did not include the Reds (.611) and Cardinals (.528) which had the best season records in the NL West and NL East, but finished in second place in both halves of the season.
1985 Player Strike
In a battle over a salary cap to arbitration and the owners' contribution to the pension fun. The owners dropped the salary cap, increased the minimum salary from $40,000 to $60,000 and made a contribution to the pension plan of $33 million in 1986, 1987 and 1988, and $39 million in 1989;
1990 Owner Lockout
With players locked out in spring training, the start of the season was started a week late, but a full 162-game schedule was play. The owners wanted to create a fund for the players that included 48 percent of the gate revenue, and all revenue from radio/television broadcasts that was to fund a pay-for-performance system. The players balked, and after 32 days of spring training were lost, the sides reached an agreement that raised the minimum salary from $68,000 to $100,000. The start of the regular season was pushed back one week.
1994-95 Player Strike
The owners took a hard stand on the demands for a revenue-sharing plan tied to a salary cap. The Players Association was having no part of. On Aug. 12, 1994, the players began a strike that siped out the remainder of the season, the post-season for the first time, and the start of the 1995 season -- a total of 232 days before an agreement was reached on April 2, 1995, and spring training camps were opened. No team played the full 162-game schedule in either season. Every team played at least 113 games in 1994, ad all teams play 144 games in 1995.
1998 Earthquake World Series
As teams went through pre-game workouts for Game 3 of the World Series, an earthquake shook the Bay Area, measuring at 7.1 on tie richter scale. It forced a 10-day delay between Games 2 and 3, much to the advantage of the A's. Dave Stewart started and won Games 1 and 3, dnd Mike Moore started and won Games 2 and 4. The two dominated. Stewart pitched 16 of a possible 18 innings, and Moore worked 13 of a possible 18 innings.
On the morning of Sept. 1, 2001, with the World Series set to begin in Arizona, two jets, flown by terrorists, crashed into the Twin Towers at the Trade Center in New York City. Baseball was put on hold for a week. And the World Series, which features the Yankees and Diamondbacks, seemingly took on a meaning bigger than baseball, particularly when President George W. Bush took the mound at Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch for Game 3. The home team won all seven games in the World Series, Arizona rallying in the ninth inning of Game 7 against Mariano Rivera for the clinching victory.