The Year Without a World Series

Major League Baseball and the Road to the 1994 Players’ Strike


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About the Book

The 1994 Major League Baseball season promised to be memorable. Long-standing batting and pitching standards were threatened, including the revered single-season home run record. The Montreal Expos and New York Yankees were delivering remarkable campaigns. In August, acting commissioner Bud Selig called a halt to the season amid the League’s latest labor dispute. The shutdown led to a lockout as well as cancellation of more than 900 regular season games, the scheduled expanded rounds of playoffs, and that year’s World Series. Like all labor struggles, it was fundamentally about control—of salaries, of players’ ability to decide their own fates, and of the game itself.
This book chronicles Major League Baseball’s turbulent ’94 season and its ripple effects. It highlights earlier labor struggles and the roles performed by individuals from John Montgomery Ward, David Fultz and Robert Murphy to Marvin Miller, Andy Messersmith, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Donald Fehr. Also examined are the ballplayers’ own organizations, from the Players League of the early 1890s to the still potent Major League Baseball Players Association doing battle with team owners and their representatives.

About the Author(s)

A professor emeritus of history and American studies at California State University, Chico, Robert C. Cottrell is the author of more than twenty books, including studies of the counterculture, the year 1968, American radicalism, black baseball and the World War II smokejumpers.

Bibliographic Details

Robert C. Cottrell
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 265
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9247-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5023-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
1. The Strike 7
2. The Players’ League 18
3. From the Protective Association to the Fraternity and Beyond 28
4. The American Baseball Guild and Jumping 42
5. The Major League Baseball Players Association 53
6. Miller Time 66
7. Free Agency and Arbitration 78
8. We’re on Strike! No, You’re Locked Out! 87
9. The Adversaries: Donald Fehr vs. Bud Selig 97
10. The State of the National Game 107
11. ­Commissioner-Less Baseball 117
12. It Happens Every Spring 130
13. The Best Player in Baseball: Barry Bonds 141
14. The Natural: Ken Griffey, Jr. 153
15. Opening Days 161
16. May Days 171
17. A June Swoon? 180
18. July Was the Hottest Month 188
19. August Showers 197
20. Discord Continues 207
21. Labor Woes and the National Pastime 216
Chapter Notes 223
Bibliography 247
Index 251

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Cottrell situates this doomed strike season amid the long, winding history of the decades-long financial dance between players seeking higher compensation and career autonomy while some smaller market teams struggled to compete. … An interesting read for baseball fans.”—Booklist

• “An intriguing analysis of the 1994 players’ strike… To trace the strike’s deep roots, Cottrell takes his readers on a long journey back to the formation of Major League Baseball in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. … Cottrell’s extensive research and engaging writing style result in an engrossing and straightforward narrative detailing an ugly period in Major League Baseball’s history. He does not shy away from relating how both sides in the labor dispute drew ire from baseball writers and fans. This is a welcome addition to the literature on Major League Baseball … recommended”—Choice