How the new SC nominee ended MLB fans' agony

Let me make it clear that I don't want to discuss in any way the political ramifications of today's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. However, there's a sports angle here. She played a major role in the end of the most disastrous work stoppage in the history of the four major pro sports leagues: the 1994 Major League Baseball players' strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. There had been walkouts before, but they never wiped out a World Series.

It took years for the sport to fully recover from the damage done, including large drops in attendance when play resumed. The Montreal Expos never did recover, of course. Their exciting 1994 season wiped out, fans finally gave up on the Expos for good and the franchise eventually moved to Washington, where today they're best known for providing me with occasional writing fodder.

You may remember that after continued failed negotiations, the owners unilaterally implemented a salary cap and other changes, and decided to try and begin the 1995 season with replacement players. This led to some chaos. Among other things cited in this Wikipedia article: the Baltimore Orioles refused to field replacement players (not wanting to jeopardize Cal Ripken's consecutive-game streak) and stopped playing spring training games; the Detroit Tigers put manager Sparky Anderson on an involuntary leave of absence because he refused to manage replacements; and the Toronto Blue Jays planned to play their regular season home games at their spring training field in Dunedin, Florida because Ontario labor laws barred the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout.

The National Labor Relations Board sought an injunction against the owners for their imposition of new contract terms, requesting that the prior rules on salary arbitration, free agency, etc. be reinstated. The players voted to return to work if the NLRB was successful. It was Judge Sotomayor who granted the preliminary injunction on March 31, 1995; the owners' request to stay the injunction was denied by an Appeals Court panel two days later, and the players finally reported for spring training. The season began three weeks late, although it was shortened to 144 games, and baseball's nightmare was over at last.

Hat tip to the Business of Sports Network's Twitter feed for posting the link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's blog item about this horrendous period of baseball history.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Outsports

You must be a member of Outsports to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Outsports. You should read them.

Join Outsports

You must be a member of Outsports to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Outsports. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.