The Short History of Baseball: The 1980s



Hello and welcome to story 9 of 12 of my look at the most significant events in MLB history as well as some of my favourite MLB stories, decade by decade.

In this edition I shall be looking at the 1980’s and here is what I shall be talking about: 1981 – Player’s Strike 1985 – Cocaine Trials 1985 – Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s all-time MLB hits record. 1985-1987 – Collusion 1986 – “It gets through Buckner!”

1988 – Kirk Gibson’s home run 1989 – Pete Rose banned from Baseball for life due to betting on games 1989 – Earthquake during the World Series

1981 – Player’s Strike

A player’s strike that meant that 38% of the regular season schedule was lost The strike began on 12 June and forced the cancellation of 713 games (or 38 percent of the Major League schedule) in the middle of the regular season. The two sides reached an agreement on 31 July, and play resumed on 09 August with the All-Star Game, with regular season play resuming one day later.

The strike was called in response to the owners wanting to win back the prerogatives over the players. The owners had already lost at the bargaining table and in the courts on the issue of the free agency back in 1975.

At issue during the seven-week-long negotiations was the owners demanding compensation for losing a free agent player to another team. The compensation in question was a player who was selected from the signing team's roster (not including 12 "protected" players). The players maintained that any form of compensation would undermine the value of free agency

On 31 July 1981, a compromise was reached. In the settlement, teams that lost a "premium" free agent could be compensated by drawing from a pool of players left unprotected from all of the clubs rather than just the signing club.

Players agreed to restricting free agency to players with six or more years of major league service. The settlement gave the owners a limited victory on the compensation issue.

Reportedly, the negotiations were so bitter that when a settlement was finally reached, Players Association representative Marvin Miller and the owners' negotiator Ray Grebey refused to pose with each other for the traditional "peace ceremony" photograph.