1994 World Series

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1994 World Series
1994 World Series.gif
< 1993 World Series 1995 >

The 1994 World Series was canceled on September 14 of that year due to an ongoing strike by the Major League Baseball Players Association, which had begun on August 12. It was only the second time in the event's history (the first was in 1904) that the Fall Classic was not played.

Overview[edit]

The Montreal Expos of the National League, at 74–40, and the New York Yankees of the American League, at 70–43, held the best records in their leagues at season's end. Both the Yankees and Expos had last participated in the playoffs during 1981, when a players' strike resulted in a split season, with the division leaders at the time of the strike, which included the Yankees, facing the division leaders of the second half of the season. The Expos lost the 1981 National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who defeated the Yankees in the World Series.

Montreal Expos[edit]

The 1994 Montreal Expos were trying to win the third consecutive World Series for a Canadian team after the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. An all-Canadian World Series featuring the Expos and the Blue Jays would have been very unlikely, with the defending champion Blue Jays slumping to a third place finish and a 55–60 record at the cancellation of the season, 16 games behind the Yankees.

Some, such as the then-majority owner of the Expos, Claude Brochu, in his book My Turn at Bat, blamed the strike for the ultimate demise and relocation of the Montreal Expos.[1] Several sports publications have speculated Montreal would have won the Series had it been played.[2] The team was forced to trade many of its players to deal with the loss of revenue following the strike, and never again reached the same level of success it had in 1994. The Expos averaged 72 victories over the next six seasons (their best seasons after 1994 were an 88 win season in 1996 and an 83 win season in 2002).[1] After the 2004 season, the team moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals.

New York Yankees[edit]

Had the Yankees made the playoffs, it would have marked the first time Don Mattingly, the team's captain, would have participated in the postseason.[3] When reacting to the cancellation of the season by the strike, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, general manager Gene Michael and manager Buck Showalter, among others, said they felt bad for Mattingly and that he deserved to play in the playoffs.[4][5][6][7] At the time, "Donnie Baseball" led active players in both games played and at bats without a postseason appearance.[8][9][10]

The 1994 strike contributed to Mattingly's retirement[11][12] and Showalter's departure as Yankee manager a year later.[1][11] Mattingly subsequently suffered from various injuries and retired after the 1995 season, when they lost in the first round of the playoffs to Edgar Martínez and the Seattle Mariners, three games to two.[11]

Playoffs[edit]

This was to have been the first year of a regularly scheduled three-tier playoff system, with the NL and AL divided into three divisions (East, Central, and West) at the start of the 1994 season. (An unscheduled three-tier system was used in 1981 due to the shortening of the season by a mid-season labor dispute.) The new playoff system (involving a wild card team in each league) did not go into effect until the 1995 postseason. Had the postseason taken place based on team records as of August 11, the participants in each division series would have been determined as follows:

  Division Series
ABC
League Championship Series
NBC
World Series
ABC
                           
  East  New York Yankees 0  
WC  Cleveland Indians 0  
  East/WC  NYY/CLE 0  
American League
  Central/West  CHW/TEX 0  
Central  Chicago White Sox 0
  West  Texas Rangers 0  
    AL  AL Champion 0
  NL  NL Champion 0
  East  Montreal Expos 0  
West  Los Angeles Dodgers 0  
  East/West  MON/LAD 0
National League
  Central/WC  CIN/ATL 0  
Central  Cincinnati Reds 0
  WC  Atlanta Braves 0  

Atlanta Braves' run of division titles[edit]

Because division champions from 1994 are unofficial, the Atlanta Braves are officially credited with winning 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005, winning the NL West in the final three years of the two–division system and then winning 11 consecutive NL East titles from 1995 to 2005. At the time of the season's cancellation, however, the Braves were in second place in the NL East at 68–46, six games behind the Montreal Expos. The 11 titles from 1995 to 2005 are an MLB record nonetheless. The Braves had a 2½-game lead over the Houston Astros for the NL wild card at the time the rest of the season was canceled. Had the unplayed remainder of the 1994 season ended with the Braves missing the playoffs, the major league record for consecutive playoff appearances would then have gone to the New York Yankees, who had 13 straight postseason appearances from 1995 to 2007 (1994 would have made it 14, with the streak starting a year earlier).

"Unofficial" champions[edit]

The Associated Press writers, at the end of the aborted season, chose to name "unofficial" champions when naming their Managers of the Year as Felipe Alou of the Expos and Buck Showalter of the Yankees, who were leading when the season abruptly ended. The next season's All-Star Game managers are, by tradition, the managers of last year's league champions; and so the leagues chose to name those unofficial league champion managers of 1994 to the traditional honor of managing the 1995 All-Star Game.

Television coverage[edit]

Had the 1994 World Series been played, it would have aired on ABC. Al Michaels, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver and Lesley Visser would, in all likelihood, have been the announcers. The 1994 season marked the first year of what would have been a six-year-long joint venture with Major League Baseball, ABC and NBC called "The Baseball Network." In even-numbered years, ABC would cover the Division Series and World Series, while NBC would cover the All-Star Game and League Championship Series. Likewise, in odd-numbered years, NBC would cover the Division Series and World Series, while ABC would cover the All-Star Game and LCS.

Home field advantage[edit]

The 1994 World Series was supposed to have the AL champion open at home for the second year in a row because the playoffs were expanded to include the new wild-card round.[13][14] Up to 1994, the NL champion opened the World Series at home in even-numbered years and the AL champion in odd-numbered years, with this then being reversed starting 1995 because of the missed 1994 World Series. From 1995 to 2002, the NL champion had home field advantage in odd-numbered years and AL in even-numbered years. Beginning in 2003, the league that won the All-Star Game had its champion open the World Series at home.

Outcome[edit]

Because the World Series was not played, the previous year's champions, the Toronto Blue Jays retained physical possession of the World Series trophy,[citation needed] but there was no official champions for that year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Curry, Jack (August 26, 2002). "Lost Games, Lost Dreams". The New York Times. p. D1. 
  2. ^ "What If 1994 Was Played Out?". What if Sports?. 
  3. ^ Curry, Jack (August 7, 1994). "BASEBALL; Flashback to '81: Another Lead, Another Strike". The New York Times. p. A1. 
  4. ^ Jacobson, Steve (September 11, 1994). "Sympathy For Season Of Promise". Newsday. p. 17. "'Some guys deserve the reward," Michael said. "More than anybody on this ballclub, Donnie does."" 
  5. ^ Bodley, Hal (September 13, 1994). "Steinbrenner doubts season can be saved". USA Today. p. 7C. "I'm so sad for Don Mattingly (who has never been in the postseason),...I feel so badly for that kid." 
  6. ^ Heyman, Jon (September 14, 1994). "End Is Near Boss stays solid behind Bud, owners". Newsday. p. A70. "I feel so sorry for Don Mattingly. That really hurts me. Here's a guy who's given everything he had to get to the postseason. He and {Wade} Boggs and {Jimmy} Key were the leaders, who helped get them a 6 12-game lead." But Steinbrenner later said, in talking about Mattingly, "They're grown men. They're part of the strike. They walked out. They were pretty cocksure of certain things. He knew what they were doing. They made the decision to walk. They struck. We didn't lock them out." 
  7. ^ Frey, Jennifer (October 8, 1995). "Finally, an October to Savor for 'Donnie Baseball'". The Washington Post. p. D9. "Buck Showalter...sat at home in admitted misery...ached for Mattingly, the one player he believed deserved a postseason more than anyone else in the game." 
  8. ^ Stout, Glenn (2002). Johnson, Richard A., ed. Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 386. ISBN 0-618-08527-0. 
  9. ^ "Mattingly Blames Both Sides". The New York Times. September 16, 1994. p. B11. "Mattingly...logged more career at-bats (6,545) without a playoff appearance than any other active player." 
  10. ^ Haudricourt, Tom (May 8, 1995). "Mattingly's career has hole". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. C5. "No active player in the major leagues has gone longer without a post-season appearance." 
  11. ^ a b c Amore, Dom (May 15, 2005). "IMAGINE: BUCK'S YANKEES, BUT NOT JETER'S". The Hartford Courant. p. E8. 
  12. ^ Costello, Brian (August 8, 2004). "'94 YANKS CUT SHORT". New York Post. p. 58. 
  13. ^ Lupica, Mike. "Empty Feeling". Newsday. p. A42. "The World Series was supposed to start tonight. =October 22, 1994" 
  14. ^ Walker, Ben (October 23, 1994). "Game 1 of World Series passes by". Associated Press. "Because of the expanded playoffs, including the new wild-card round, the World Series schedule had been flipped this season to open again at the home of the AL champion." 

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