How many times has there been a work stoppage in MLB?
With this lockout, there have been nine work stoppages in MLB history. Here is a brief overview of the timeline for them and the MLBPA.
1966: MLB Players formally unionize to form the MLBPA. They had been in a group since 1953 but owners did not recognize the union until 1966. The MLBPA hired Marvin Miller as their executive director. Miller was with the United Steel Works of America before coming to MLBPA.
1972 MLB strike: 86 regular-season games were canceled because of this strike. After 13 days, the owners gave in to demands from the MLBPA. Some of the demands given into were salary arbitration, a pension fund payment increase. The canceled games caused an uneven schedule, which had ramifications in the AL East as the Detroit Tigers (86-70) won the division by 0.5 games over Boston (85-70).
1973 MLB lockout: This lockout did not cancel any regular-season games as it happened in Spring Training. Owners and the MLBPA agreed on a three-year CBA and Spring Training games resumed.
1976 MLB lockout: This has the same circumstances as 1973 but this secured free agency for all players (check this out for more info on the history of free agency).
1980 MLB strike: Players went on strike late in spring training and the two sides came to an agreement before the beginning of the regular season so no regular-season games were canceled.
1981 MLB strike: Until 1994-1995, this was the largest strike as it canceled 713 games. The MLBPA went on strike after games on June 11 and games didn’t resume until August 10. The All-Star Game, which was held at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, was the first game played after the agreement was made.
This had significant ramifications on the playoffs as they decided to split the season. The four teams that were in first place (one in each league in the West and East since they did not have a Central division at the time) were automatically in the playoffs. After the strike, standings would be reset at zero and the winner of each division at the end of the season would play the first-half winner.
However, the Cincinnati Reds did not win either the first or second half in the NL West (yes, the NL West) so, despite having the best-combined record in baseball that season, they didn’t make the playoffs. This also happened to the St. Louis Cardinals, who had the best overall combined record in the NL East, who missed the playoffs.
The strike happened because owners wanted to revoke free agency.
1985 MLB strike: This did not cancel any games. This lasted for two days in August but the games missed were made up at the end of the season.
1990 MLB lockout: This did not cancel regular-season games but significantly impacted spring training. The MLB season was played in its entirety but everything was pushed back one week from the original schedule.
1994–95 MLB strike: Canceled 938 regular-season games between 1994 and 1995 as well as the entire 1994 postseason, including the MLB World Series.