What Was The Longest Work Stoppage in Major League Baseball History?

Published on December 2nd, 2021 11:34 am EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Another lockdown in Major League Baseball is here.  Which one was the longest? Earlier this week, Major League Baseball's owners voted unanimously to impose a lockout.

After a frantic week of free agent signings, everything ground to an immediate halt. Teams are allowed to talk trades with each other, though no other business is allowed to be transacted.

The owners have said that they are prepared to implement some "tweaks" to the system, while the players want some fairly major changes.

Players are miffed about a number of different issues, including the salary arbitration system and how teams are able to treat younger players, to name a few.


After the disastrous 1994-95 strike, both sides stated that they would do everything in their power to avoid something similar happening in the future.

That strike resulted in the cancellation of the entire post-season, and incredible damage was done to the game, as many disgusted fans turned elsewhere.

Well, we've had 25 years of labor peace, but now we finally have another work stoppage in the league.


This is the ninth work stoppage in the history of the league.

There have been five strikes and four lockouts.

Five of the work stoppages (1973, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1990) were inconsequential and resulted in the cancellation of zero games.

The 1972 strike resulted in the cancellation of 86 games.

This strike was short (less than two weeks) and resulted in a couple of big changes - the owners and players agreed to a $500,000 increase in pension fund payments, plus salary arbitration was added to the CBA.

The 1981 strike was much more painful, as it resulted in the cancellation of 38% of the season. Free agency compensation and salary arbitration were the two main points of contention in this strike. There was no love lost between the two sides during negotiations, and both sides were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.


The 1994-95 strike was the most ruinous of all, as 938 games were cancelled, as well as the entire postseason.

The owners wanted a salary cap implemented, as they said that small market teams weren't going to make up under the current system.

Players balked at the idea of a hard cap, and the owners dug in their heels, which resulted in the cancellation of the 1994-95 season.

In the end, the owners threatened the use of replacement players and the matter eventually ended up in court, with the players eventually winning an injunction to continue playing under the old CBA.

The damage was done and many fans were sickened by both the owners and players, and it took years for the league to undo the damage.


It's hard to imagine that any games will be cancelled during the current stoppage, though you never know.

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