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MLB 2020 is not baseball’s first shortened season

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The 2020 Major League Baseball season is not the first in the league’s illustrious history to be shortened. By the way things go in MLB, it is certainly not to be the last either. Although the coronavirus has put baseball in uncharted territory, the same could be said about some of the other shortened campaigns. The 2020 MLB season will begin on July 23 with the famed New York Yankees playing the World Champion Washington Nationals. Fans are getting excited about the big game and Bet o clock allows them to wager on the game and the team they predict to win.

With the MLB season’s first pitch taking place this month, here is a look at previous times the baseball campaign was shortened.

World War I

The MLB 1918 and 1919 seasons were both cut short due to the first World War. MLB played a 154-game season at the time and prior to the 1918 campaign, team owners agreed to cut it down to 140 games. With more men being drafted into the military, the season was shortened in the middle of the term. MLB teams played between 126 and 128 games with World Series taking place from September 5 to 11.

The following season was also shortened to 140 games in spite of the war ending on November 11, 1918. The number of games was based on players still being sent back from their military service. In 1918, baseball also experienced its first pandemic, the Spanish Flu, with players and umpires wearing masks during games.

Labor War

In 1972, MLB faced its first suspension of play due to a labor issue. The season’s first two weeks were canceled as players went on strike for the first time. Teams ended up playing a different number of games and a unique scenario was created by the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, who both topped the American League East. As the Tigers had played one more game during the season, they were allowed passage into the MLB playoffs.

1981 Strike

Team owners have always been opposed to losing players. It was the players that fought so hard to end the reserve clause and the creation of free agency. The 1981 strike was a result of free agency as team owners wanted clubs who lost players to free agency to receive a compensation draft pick from the signing team and an additional player off the roster of the signing team. Players walked off the job on June 11 and didn’t return to play until August 10, roughly two months later. Each team played roughly 107 games.

Biggest Labor Strike in MLB History

Baseball fans of a certain generation will certainly remember the MLB players strike in 1994 and 1995. At the time, it was a strike that the media and owners painted as the players’ fault. Now, in hindsight, the owners’ PR machine got the public onside and made the players out to be the bad guys, which they were not. The season was abruptly ended on August 11 as no Collective Bargaining Agreement could be reached between the players, owners, and MLB. It was the first time since 1904 that the MLB season was canceled. The following season did not start until April 25 after the owners suffered an embarrassing defeat in court. The 1995 campaign was shortened with 144 games being played.