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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A retrospective on the lost 1994 season

Twenty-five years ago today, the baseball season abruptly ended as the players went on strike, protesting a major overreach by ownership which attempted to consolidate too much power in the hands of the commissioner. Ownership really wanted to implement a salary cap, which then-union executive director Donald Fehr correctly said would come with no benefit to the players. It wasn’t just about that, though. Ownership had been deceitful many times in years past, so the union was distrustful and resentment festered.

There were no playoffs, no World Series in 1994. Awards were given out, but it was little solace for some of the players and teams in the midst of outstanding, potentially career- or franchise-altering seasons. Let’s take a look at exactly who those teams and players were.

A commentary on the statistical consequences of the 1994 strike- see if you can spot the major calculating error in this piece.

 

QLE Posted: August 13, 2019 at 04:49 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 1994 strike, albert belle, barry bonds, expos, frank thomas, fred mcgriff, greg maddux, jeff bagwell, matt williams, tony gwynn, yankees

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   1. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 13, 2019 at 08:06 AM (#5870856)
It was the only year in my lifetime without a World Series. It was also the year I met the love of my life.

I'll take it.
   2. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 13, 2019 at 08:53 AM (#5870872)
A commentary on the statistical consequences of the 1994 strike- see if you can spot the major calculating error in this piece.


without reading the article, did they prorate out Jeff Bagwell's stats, even though he broke his wrist a day or 2 before the strike?

edit: ok, it was a bone in his hand, not his wrist, but, still, it was a day or two before the strike and he was going to be out awhile.
   3. villageidiom Posted: August 13, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5870876)
There were a lot of people back then who swore off the sport, with a rationale of "I'm not giving the owners any more of my money because the players are too greedy." I still get a chuckle out of that.
   4. Ithaca2323 Posted: August 13, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5870887)
I think the most interesting aspect of the strike that is almost never talked about is the Rangers leading the AL west despite being a staggering 52-62. I've always wondered what MLB would have done had a team made the playoffs at like, 75-87.

Also, a hot take: I always thought Gwynn in a strange way almost benefited from the strike. I think, based on his projected AB totals for the rest of the year, he'd have needed to hit like, .423 for the rest of the season to finish at .400. It was extremely unlikely, but a lot of the casual fan conversation around it seems to talk about how he was robbed.

And for the HOF cases, all the attention is always focused on McGriff, but what about David Cone? He was having a *monster* 1994, and had an excellent '95 as well. The strike not only cost him 200 career wins, but at least one additional 20-win season (and possibly two, if we really wanted to make a case for him). It also cost him a real eye-catching season—he would have been in the 9-10 WAR range in 1994. He'd still be fringy to a lot of voters, but 65 WAR, 201 wins, and four 20-win seasons would look better than 61.6, 194 and two. (At least it would to the voters others seem to think would come flocking to McGriff)
   5. cookiedabookie Posted: August 13, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5870911)
I think the most interesting aspect of the strike that is almost never talked about is the Rangers leading the AL west despite being a staggering 52-62. I've always wondered what MLB would have done had a team made the playoffs at like, 75-87.


It would have given Selig the opening for a radical realignment similar to the NBA - two leagues/conferences, top X# of teams make the playoffs.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 13, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5870928)
That AL West race to bottom was really something. Not only did the Rangers "win" the division at 10 games under .500, but the four teams in the AL West were also the bottom four teams in the entire league when the strike started. They were packed pretty closely -- 5-1/2 games from first to last -- but there were not a lot of intradivision games left for any team either where one team could have pulled away from the others in their final ~ 45 games.

First place Texas had 9 games left in the division (3 against each team).
Oakland -- 1 game behind -- had 13 (3 vs TEX, 4 vs CAL, 6 vs SEA).
Seattle -- 2 games behind -- had 13 (3 vs TEX, 6 vs OAK, 4 vs CAL).
California -- 5-1/2 games behind -- had 11 (3 vs TEX, 4 vs OAK, 4 vs SEA).

So while the order could have changed, it was a good bet the division winner was still going to be under .500 since each team still had 30-35 games left against teams with better winning percentages.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5870940)
I recently simmed the entire 1994 season on DMB (starting over, not resuming from the point of the work stoppage. Expos beat the White Sox in 6 games.
   8. QLE Posted: August 13, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5870965)
without reading the article, did they prorate out Jeff Bagwell's stats, even though he broke his wrist a day or 2 before the strike?


They did, they did.
   9. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 13, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5870990)
They did, they did.


Yeah. No one ever remembers. The only reason I do is because the Reds and Astros were locked in a tight race for the first NL Central title and Bagwell was so integral to the Astros offense that hearing about him breaking a bone made me think the Reds were going to take charge of the division.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5870996)

without reading the article, did they prorate out Jeff Bagwell's stats, even though he broke his wrist a day or 2 before the strike?


FREE ROBERTO PETAGINE!!!!

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