The 1994 MLB Players Strike: How the Season Would Have Played Out Without It.

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:

AL East W L Home Road
Yankees 70 43 33-24 37-19
Orioles 63 49 28-27 35-22
Blue Jays 55 60 33-26 22-34
Red Sox 54 61 31-33 23-28
Tigers 53 62 34-24 19-38
         
         
AL Central W L Home Road
White Sox 67 46 34-19 33-27
Indians 66 47 35-16 31-31
Royals 64 51 35-24 29-27
Twins 53 60 32-27 21-33
Brewers 53 62 24-32 29-30
         
         
AL West W L Home Road
Rangers 52 62 31-32 21-30
Athletics 51 63 24-32 27-31
Mariners 49 63 22-22 27-41
Angels 47 68 23-40 24-28
         
         
NL East W L Home Road
Expos 74 40 32-20 42-20
Braves 68 46 31-24 37-22
Mets 55 58 23-30 32-38
Phillies 54 63 34-26 20-35
Marlins 51 64 25-34 26-30
         
         
NL Central W L Home Road
Reds 66 48 37-22 29-26
Astros 66 49 37-22 29-27
Cardinals 53 61 23-33 30-28
Pirates 53 61 32-39 21-32
Cubs 49 64 20-39 29-25
         
         
NL West W L Home Road
Dodgers 58 56 33-22 25-34
Giants 55 60 29-31 26-29
Rockies 53 64 25-32 28-32
Padres 47 70 26-31 21-39
         

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.

AL East W L Home Road
Yankees (1) 101 61 47-34 54-27
Orioles 91 71 41-40 50-31
Blue Jays 77 85 45-36 32-49
Red Sox 76 86 39-42 37-44
Tigers 74 88 47-34 27-54
         
         
AL Central W L Home Road
White Sox (2) 97 65 52-29 45-36
Indians (4) 96 66 56-25 40-41
Royals 90 72 48-33 42-39
Twins 76 86 44-37 32-49
Brewers 75 87 35-46 40-41
         
         
AL West W L Home Road
Athletics* (3) 73 89 35-46 38-43
Rangers 73 89 40-41 33-48
Mariners 72 90 40-41 32-49
Angels 66 96 30-51 36-45
         
         
NL East W L Home Road
Expos (1) 105 57 50-31 55-26
Braves (4) 97 65 46-35 51-30
Mets 78 84 35-46 43-38
Phillies 75 87 46-35 29-52
Marlins 72 90 34-47 38-43
         
         
NL Central W L Home Road
Reds (2) 94 68 51-30 43-38
Astros 93 69 51-30 42-39
Cardinals 75 87 33-48 42-39
Pirates 74 88 42-39 32-49
Cubs 70 92 27-54 43-38
         
         
NL West W L Home Road
Dodgers (3) 83 79 49-32 34-47
Giants 77 85 39-42 38-43
Rockies 74 88 36-45 38-43
Padres 64 98 36-45 28-53
         

*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.

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