On August 11, 1994 the final game of the 1994 MLB Season was played between the Montreal Expos and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were victorious on that day winning by a score of 4-0. Twenty years ago today the history of baseball changed forever. There have been strikes in the game of baseball before but none of them were as damaging to the game as this one.
Here is the short story of what transpired prior to August 11, 1994. The MLB Players Association had been going back and forth with the MLB Oweners for almost one year over a proposed salary cap. The Owners claimed it was necessary to have a salary cap in place for small market teams to survive the current state of MLB. The salary cap combined with local television revenues would sustain the smaller market teams and thus benefit all of MLB. The players were not willing to agree to the terms the owners had set and after numerous negotiations decided as a group to sit out the rest of the season. On top of all of the problems between the two sides there had not been an official commissioner presiding over baseball since 1992. Baseball needed a commissioner that could moderate between the two sides.
The locked gate of a MLB stadium during the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)
On August 12, 1994 The strike officially began and America would not see Major League Baseball action until the strike ended on April 2, 1995. Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States District Court for the Southern District, New York, issued an injunction that ended the strike. Judge Sotomayor ruled that the players and owners were bound by the expired collective bargaining agreement until a new deal could be reached. The strike lasted a total of 232 days and reduced the 1995 season to 144 games from the traditional 162 games.
The sight that awaited the players when they returned to the diamond following the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)
Throughout the 1995 MLB Season the fans showed their displeasure with the strike that had tainted the game that they love. Many fans saw it as two greedy side fighting for more money. Fans all over the country showed their disdain for the players in their own ways. Many fans decided not to go to games or buy any MLB merchandise, while other fans decided to show up and let the players know how they felt by throwing objects at them and taunting them. Baseball did not see much gain in popularity until the steroid driven home run fest of the late 1990’s. The “Steroid Era” further damaged the game of baseball when it was made public in the mid 2000’s.
Because of the 1994 MLB Players Strike there was no World Series played that year, it was the first season without a World Series since 1904. There were many casualties of the strike of the 1994 Strike. The most notable were the Montreal Expos who were having their best season in team history and lead baseball with a 74-70 record when the strike ended. The Expos would have likely reached the MLB Playoffs and possibly even the World Series but instead faded into obscurity. The franchise would not reach the post season until the team became the Washington Nationals more than a decade later.
There are many lessons that have been learned from the 1994 Players Strike. The most important of those lessons is that no League can disregard the fans and still profit greatly from them. Many felt the financial impact that the strike had on the game due to raising the fans ire. Baseball was considered America’s most popular sport prior to the strike. It fell behind the NFL in popularity a few years after the strike and has never grabbed its old position back from football since. The game of baseball is a beautiful game but in 1994 it was tainted by greed and the fans were the biggest victims of the dispute between the owners and the players.
Posted in MLB, sports, Sports History
Tagged 11, 12, 144 game, 144 games, 1904, 1994 players strike, 232, anger, august, baseball, commisioner, days, end, ended, fans, game, greed, how many days, judge, lasted, MLB, montreal expos, no, owners, played, players, season, sotomayor, steroid era, team, teams, was a, what date, when did, where, who, world series
During the 1984 NBA Draft a player would be selected by a team that needed a super star to lead them into the future. The NBA was also about to gain a future legend that is still talked three decades later. This player was none other than the University of North Carolina guard Michael Jordan. Jordan was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 3rd overall pick that year. His rookie season was a peak into what the future of basketball and American sports was about to become.
Michael Jordan during his rookie season. (Getty Images)
Michael Jordan made his NBA debut on October 26, 1984. His Chicago Bulls were hosting the Washington Bullets. Much was expected from this rookie from North Carolina. Jordan had a solid game putting up 16 points, 7 assists, and went 6 for 7 at the free throw line. The Bulls beat the Bullets by a score of 109-93. As the season went on Jordan popularity would rise just like he would glide to the basket for one of his highlight reel dunks.
The Sports Illustrated cover that would add to Michael Jordan’s superstar status. (Sports Illustrated)
Before the end of 1984 Michael Jordan graced the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated Magazine with the quote “A Star Is Born”. In early 1985 before the NBA All-Star Game the fans voted Jordan into the mid season classic featuring the leagues best players. Jordan faced some jealousy from his fellow players for the success he had achieved just a few months into his career. The most notable was Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas who has been the previous years All Star Game MVP. It has been said over the years that Thomas was trying to get the players on the Eastern Division Team to keep the ball out of Jordan’s hands and make him look like less of a star in the game. Jordan was was able to contribute in the game but hardly was the star of the game. Jordan scored only 7 points in his All Star debut.
The Chicago Bulls ended the regular season with a record of 38-44 and received a playoff birth. The Bulls lost their first round playoff series to the Milwaukee Bucks 3-1.
Michael Jordan played all 82 games for the Bulls in his debut season and put up outstanding numbers for a rookie. Jordan scored 2,313 points, 481 assists and had a free throw percentage of .845. He was also named the NBA Rookie of the year. Jordan would not win his first NBA Title until the 1990-91 season. He retired from the game for the third and final time following the 2002-2003 NBA Season. Jordan scored 32,292 points, won 6 NBA Titles and 6 NBA Finals MVP Awards during his career among many of his other accomplishments. He is considered by many to be the most popular American athelete since Babe Ruth and the greatest basketball player ever.
Posted in Historic Rookies, NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 3rd, all star game, best basketball, bucks, champion, chicago bulls, debut, game, legend, Michael jordin, mvp scoring, NBA, nba finals, of the year, overall, pick, player, playoffs, points, rookie, season, title, was, what year, when, who
Exactly thirty-one years ago today one of the most infamous incidents of modern baseball history occurred. The game involved the visiting Kansas City Royals taking on the New York Yankees. The Yankees were leading the game 4-3 with 2 outs in the top half of the 9th inning. George Brett was at bat and hit an incredible 2-run home run off of Yankees pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage. The Royals were suddenly in the lead by one run.
That is until the Yankees manager Billy Martin left the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Tim McClelland. Martin explained to McClelland that Brett’s bat had pine tar exceeding the normal length allowed on the bat. This pine tar place on the upper part of the barrel of the bat would make the bat easier to hit the ball solidly off the bat. McClelland then measured the bat’s pine tar (which was allowed to be more 18 inches up the bat) with the home plate. The pine tar was over that length, McClelland immediately over ruled the play and called brett’s at bat as an out.
George Brett protesting the pine tar call after his 2-run home run was ruled an out. (Getty Images)
George Brett then stormed toward home plate to confront Tim McClelland. Brett was restrained by his team mates and was brought back into the dugout. Due to the umpires call the game was now over. The Yankees were recorded as the winners of the game by a score of 4-3. The call was later over ruled and a few weeks later the game was restarted after Brett’s at bat with his 2-run home run counting. The Royals won that game 5-4.
This is a moment that will live forever in baseball history. It is also George Brett’s most memorable moment in his Hall Of Fame career.
Posted in MLB, Sports History
Tagged 1983, 24 july, call, from dug out, game, george brett, goose, hall of fame, home run, incident, outrage, over ruled, pine tar, pitcher, protest, rich gossage, royals, run, running, score, tim mclelland, yankees
On this day 104 years ago one of the greatest pitchers of all time won his 500th career game. Cy Young was in the twilight of his career and playing for Cleveland Indians. The Indians were in Washington to play the Senators at American League Park II. The Indians won the game by a score of 5-4 thus giving Young this milestone victory.
Young would retire after the 1911 season with a career record of 511-316. Young’s 511 career wins remains the all time record for wins by a pitcher. In 1956 a year after his death, the Cy Young Award was created. The Award is given to the best pitcher in the National and American leagues at the end of every season.
Posted in MLB, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1956, 500 wins, 511, all, best, career, cleveland, cy young, cy young award, dead ball era, greatest, indians, of, picther, record, time, washington senators, when did, win his
With the 4th overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears selected running back Gale Sayers from the University of Kansas. Sayers had been a two time All American and was highly touted coming out of college. The Bears were in need of a solid running back following the 1964 season in which the teams leading rusher was Jon Arnett who finished the season with 400 yards on the ground. Ronnie Bull was the second rusher in terms of yards with 320. Sayers would come in and rush for more yard than both backs combined.
Gale Sayers was a very influential running back that changed how the game was played from the back field. Sayers was an explosive rusher with the ability to stop, move and go at practically any given moment. Sayers would also become one of the best kick returners the game had seen up to that point.
Gale Sayers had a phenomenal debut season in 1965. On the ground Sayers was practically unstoppable with 867 yards, 14 touchdowns. Sayers also gained 507 yards receiving and scored 6 touchdowns. Lastly Sayers returned 16 kicks for a total of 898 yards and 2 touchdowns on kickoffs and punt returns combined. Despite the incredible season Sayers had he could only help the Bears so much. The Bears finished that season with a record of 9-5 and placed 3rd in the NFL Western Conference.
Gale Sayers was named the NFL Rookie of the at the end of the 1965 season. That season he set the record for the most touchdowns scored by a rookie with 22, a record that still stands today, almost five decades later. Sayers would only play seven total seasons before retiring after the 1971 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1977.
Posted in Historic Rookies, NFL, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1965, 1977, 22, 40, chicago bears, debut, gale sayers, hall of fame, historic, holder, how many, jon arnett, kick, legend, punt, record, returner, rookie, running back, rushing, season, td's, touchdowns, what, when, year
In July of 2010 Lebron James was live on ESPN and sports fans all over the world were watching to see where he would go as a free agent. Many consider that moment one of James’ worst since bursting onto the national sports scene in 2002 while he was still in High School. With the words “I have decided to take my talents to South Beach” James ripped the hearts out of the already heart broken Cleveland sports fans bodies. The fans of Cleveland loudly voiced their disapproval and ran to the streets to burn James jerseys and shout their hate for their once beloved star.
Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)
Fast forward four years to today and a lot has changed for Lebron James. James never won an NBA Title in Cleveland during the seven seasons he played there. However James was in the NBA Finals over the past four seasons and won two titles with the Miami Heat. James had accomplished his dream of winning an NBA Championship and seems to rest easier with his accomplishment than he did as a player still seeking a title four years ago.
There was much speculation as to where Lebron James would go after he declined the final two years of his Miami Heat contract to pursue free agency. He spent the last ten days of his free agency period to make everyone wait and see where he would end up. On July 11th, 2014 around 1pm EST its was announced through a press release from James that he would be returning to back home to Cleveland. The fans of Cleveland have largely forgiven James for what happened that summer in 2010 and just wanted him back. Cleveland got their wish and their Ohio son back today.
While the city of Miami was reaping the benefits of having Lebron James for the past four seasons the Cleveland Cavilers have struggled to say the least. With multiple number one picks in the NBA Draft the team never recovered after James departed but do have the pieces in place for James to excel with. Much talk will swirl over the next four months before the season begins about whether James made the right choice but one thine is certain, Lebron James makes the Cavs an instant contender.
Posted in NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 11, 2010, 2014, 4, angry, championships, cleveland, fans, four, free agency, free agent, hate, how, july, lebron James, miami heat, NBA, ohio, press release, son, the decision, titles, what day, what time, when did he decide, where did he go, years
Twenty One years ago today the visiting Chicago Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series. The Bulls won by a score of 99-98. Michael Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 33 points. This was the Bulls 3rd consecutive NBA Championship. This victory further increased Michael Jordan’s legacy as the greatest basketball player ever. Jordan would later retire in October of 1993. He would however come back in 1995 to win 3 more NBA Titles.
Posted in NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1993, 20, 3 peat, 33 points, arizona, champions, championship, consecutive, game 6, june, michael jordan, phoenix, retired, title, win