August 11th, 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the first day of the 1994 MLB Players strike, infamous for canceling the remainder of the season and the 1994 World Series. Ever since there have been debates over how the 1994 MLB Season would have played out without the strike.
At the time of the strike, the standings were as follows:
Now I could have projected every team’s 162 game record based on their overall win percentage, but since most teams played a different number of home games than road games at the time of the strike, I went with a different approach. I calculated the win percentage of every team at home, and multiplied the result by 81 since every team plays that many home games in a season. Then I made the same calculations with every team’s road record and added the results together.
Thus, I believe that these would be the final 1994 MLB season standings.
|White Sox (2)||97||65||52-29||45-36|
*Athletics win division tiebreaker over Rangers due to better head-to-head record.
No, you are not being deceived. The AL West really was that bad.
Playoff matchups worked slightly differently in the mid-90’s. Two teams that were in the same division could not play each other in the LDS, and the Wild Card team would play the team with the best record in their respective league, as long as that team wasn’t a division rival. Given those requirements, the playoff matchups and their results would have been the following.
ALDS: White Sox vs Athletics – White Sox win 3-0
The Athletics receive the honor of being the first team to ever qualify for the playoffs with a losing record. The rest of the accolades go to the White Sox.
Yankees vs Indians – Yankees win 3-2
Both teams came in with excellent hitting cores that would dominate the league for the rest of the decade. The Yankees advance due to home field in Game 5.
NLDS: Expos vs Dodgers – Expos win 3-1
The Expos win their first playoff series since 1981 by outslugging the Dodgers with a dynamite outfield core and a strong bullpen.
Reds vs Braves – Braves win 3-0
This series actually did happen in 1995, with both teams having nearly the same roster as they did in 1994. The result of that series was a sweep for the Braves, and so is this one.
ALCS: Yankees vs White Sox – Yankees win 4-1
As seen by their mediocre seasons in the following years, 1994 ended up being a fluke season for the White Sox. The Yankees dominate the series on all fronts.
NLCS: Expos vs Braves – Braves win 4-2
Boasting the most feared pitching staff in the league, the Braves shut down the Expos vaunted hitting attack and pull off the upset.
1994 World Series: Yankees vs Braves – Braves win 4-2
This series ends up going much like the 1995 World Series between the Indians and the Braves, with the Braves pitching staff dominating the entire series and the Indians, or in this hypothetical case, the Yankees, being unable to keep up. The Yankees and Braves actually did face each other in the 1996 World Series, and the Yankees won. However, I’m picking the Braves this time because the Yankees bullpen was relatively shaky in 1994 and their hitting core hadn’t reached their full potential yet.
In the end, the 1994 MLB Players Strike put to rest the chance for there to be the first playoff team with a losing record. It also cancelled a World Series that would have made the majority of baseball fans happy with the final result due to the Yankees loss, and it is seen by many, in hindsight, as what “got the ball rolling” in the Expos decade-long decline and eventual move to Washington D.C. The Strike also alienated millions of baseball fans, and a large portion of them never returned. The good news is that nobody sees another strike happening any time soon, for any baseball-related reason. It better not, because the MLB already has an attendance problem that would be worsened even further by another strike.