1993 Winter Meetings: A Cooling Hot Stove and Boiling Tempers

This article was written by Abigail Miskowiec

This article was published in the


Baseball's Business: The Winter Meetings: 1958-2016As tensions between owners, general managers, and players mounted, the winter meetings of 1993 featured battles over the commissioner’s chair, the free-agent process, revenue sharing, and the salary cap. These points of contention collided over four months of meetings that began in early November, when the general managers met in Naples, Florida. The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, or minor leagues, followed with a much more subdued meeting in December in Atlanta, while the owners used the months of January and February to settle the revenue-sharing issue before the start of the season.

The multiple meetings did little to save the 1994 season, as the players union and the owners could not come to an agreement regarding the proposed salary cap. Further meetings and clashes came to a head when the union went on strike in August 1994.

 

New Faces, New Positions in Front Offices

Most seasons of major-league baseball end with front-office shuffles as teams at the bottom of the pile seek to clean house to move up the ladder, and 1993 was no different. Between June 1993 and January 1994, eight teams replaced either a general manager or a manager, and the Baltimore Orioles came under new ownership.

The front-office shakeups started in the midst of the 1993 season when the San Diego Padres’ general manager, Joe McIlvaine, resigned and moved to the New York Mets (where he had once been scouting director and assistant general manager) to replace Al Harazin as GM. Randy Smith stepped in to fill McIlvaine’s shoes in San Diego, and he would stay there for two years.

In August 1993, a group represented by prominent Baltimore attorney Peter Angelos bought the Orioles at auction for a then-record $173 million. In the midst of their second season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the team sat five games off the division lead at the time of the sale. Angelos made no major changes to the organization right off the bat, but he did state that “the primary concern is putting the best ballclub on the field,” a goal he would work toward throughout the 1993 offseason.[1] However, after the 1993 season, Larry Lucchino stepped down as president of the club, an office that remained vacant until John Angelos, Peter’s son, took the position for one season in 1999.

The remaining front-office moves took place over the course of the offseason and included four general-manager changes and two managerial changes. General manager Dan Duquette jumped from the Montreal Expos to the Boston Red Sox, with Kevin Malone replacing Duquette in Montreal.[2] In Detroit, Joe Klein replaced Jerry Walker as general manager, and Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog retired as general manager of the California Angels with Bill Bavasi reputedly in line for the position.[3]

The Houston Astros, despite a successful season at 85-77, fired manager Art Howe and replaced him with Terry Collins, who had been a bullpen coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Similarly, the Chicago Cubs cashiered Jim Lefebvre and brought in Tom Trebelhorn, even though Lefebvre had managed the team to an 84-78 record in 1993.

One final change, or rather, reinstatement, took place early in the 1993 offseason. Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott returned to the team after serving eight months of her yearlong ban, imposed for racist comments regarding former Reds players.

 

GENERAL MANAGERS MEETINGS

After the spending spree of 1992,[4] owners forbade general managers to attend the NAPBL meetings in Atlanta. While the GMs traditionally meet after the season for business, the 1993 meetings in Naples gained more import as a result of the ban. Trade talks and organizational changes dominated the news from the meetings, which took place over the first four days of November.

Trades and Signings

Despite the fact that players who had not cleared waivers would not be on the trading block until November 11, the general managers wheeled and dealed as usual. Without the big-ticket names of 1992 (for example, Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux), the 1993 hot stove contained significantly less spark, but a few teams managed to swing notable trades and signings. Most teams focused on a budding star, right-handed hurler Andy Benes, but the San Diego Padres refused to let the All-Star go.

“We may never see another free-agent crop like the one we saw last winter,” said Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz.[5]

The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants kicked off the signings by retaining free agents Eric Davis and Erik Johnson, respectively. The Tigers continued their spending by signing six-time All-Star shortstop Alan Trammell to a one-year contract.[6]

The general managers also worked out a few trades while in Naples, most likely on the links, as is tradition. The Philadelphia Phillies picked up right-handed closer Heath Slocumb from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder Ruben Amaro. Slocumb saved more than 30 games in 1995 and 1996 but experienced a dropoff in numbers from then on, while Amaro returned to the Phillies in 1996.

The Seattle Mariners and Schott’s Reds worked out a four-player deal during the meetings as well. The Mariners sent second baseman Bret Boone and right-handed starter Erik Hanson to the Reds in exchange for right-handed reliever Bobby Ayala and catcher Dan Wilson. Boone, Hanson, and Wilson each made at least one All-Star Game appearance, and Wilson was widely regarded as one of the finest defensive catchers of his era, leading the league in runners caught stealing in 1995 and 1997.

Reasons for Limited Trade Activity

Other than the high price of free agents in 1992, a few factors contributed to the tame market in the 1993 offseason. A new television contract with ABC and NBC cut payouts to clubs by more than $7 million each.[7] Also, the rising price of player contracts[8] threatened to push team payrolls to historic new heights.[9]

As a result, many successful teams sold off or released aging stars and relied on their farm talent to bring success in 1994. The players who debuted in the strike-shortened 1994 season and the 1995 season featured 39 future All-Stars, including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Jason Giambi.[10] Those players also collected a total of 20 Gold Glove Awards, 27 Silver Slugger Awards, and four MVP Awards.

Four future Hall of Famers were among those released at the end of the 1993 season as teams dumped their standard-bearers in favor of young blood: Robin Yount, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, and Goose Gossage. Yount retired rather than play outside Milwaukee, while Gossage threw his final 47 innings in Seattle before the strike. Murray split the next four seasons between four teams, and Henderson played for 10 more years, leading the league in stolen bases when he returned to Oakland in 1998 at the age of 39.

Several other notable players saw the free-agent market in the winter of 1993, including Jack Morris, Bo Jackson, Kirk Gibson, Tim Raines, Harold Baines, Dave Henderson, Tony Peña, Will Clark, Andrès Galarraga, and Rafael Palmeiro. Morris, Jackson, Gibson, and Henderson would all be retired by the end of 1995.

Cleveland Indians’ Nightmare Year Continues

Shortly after the general managers adjourned their meetings in Naples, Cleveland Indians GM John Hart received a heartbreaking phone call. A recently released relief pitcher, southpaw Cliff Young, had been thrown from his vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 29-year-old appeared in 21 games for the Indians in 1993.

Young was the third Indians pitcher to die in 1993. Relievers Tim Crews and Steve Olin joined starter Bob Ojeda for gator hunting on March 22, the team’s only day off during spring training. The boat ran into an unlit dock, and Crews and Olin were killed. Ojeda sustained severe head injuries but remained conscious, reportedly holding Crews as he died. Ojeda sought psychiatric help and returned to the majors on August 7, 1993. He retired the following year with a career record of 115-98 and a 3.65 ERA.[11]

Reflecting on the tragedies, Hart said, “You just shake your head and you wonder, why is this happening?”[12]

The Least Talked About, Most Significant Move of the Offseason

Perhaps the biggest trade of the offseason occurred on November 19, outside of any of the scheduled winter meetings. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who had finished 1993 with an 81-81 record, stepped up to the trading block in an effort to replace second baseman Jody Reed, who decided to test the free-agent market after the season.

The Dodgers were below the league average in almost every offensive category and scored the third fewest runs in the National League. On the other hand, the Dodgers pitching staff, led by right-hander Orel Hershiser, put up above-average numbers in most categories. As a result, Los Angeles used its best bargaining chip, a young relief pitcher named Pedro Martinez.

Montreal Expos general manager Dan Duquette saw the window of opportunity to bolster the team’s four-man rotation and make space for utility infielder Mike Lansing in the everyday lineup. In one of his final moves as GM, Duquette sent the team’s leadoff hitter and stolen-base specialist, infielder Delino DeShields, to the Dodgers in return for the right-handed Martinez.

Martinez went on to become one of the greatest pitchers of all time, winning three Cy Young Awards, a World Series championship, and a plaque in Cooperstown. DeShields, meanwhile, bounced from the Dodgers to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Baltimore Orioles, and finally, the Chicago Cubs over the course of his 13-year career. DeShields moved on to a successful career as a manager in the Cincinnati Reds organization.

One other deal was made that proved to have some significance. The Astros traded their star outfielder, Eric Anthony, to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Mike Felder and a young lefty, Mike Hampton. Anthony would bounce around to several teams over the next few years, while Felder played just one more season before retiring. Hampton, on the other hand, became a consistent winner in the majors, including a Cy Young Award runner-up year in 1999, when he won 22 games.

World Series Woes Haunt “Wild Thing”

With a nickname like “Wild Thing,” blown saves and late-inning theatrics would be expected from Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams, but when those collapses come on baseball’s biggest stage in front of one of the most hostile fan bases in sports, the failure can be overwhelming and potentially dangerous.

After a record-setting regular season, the left-handed Williams struggled in the 1993 postseason. In Game Four of the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Williams took the loss after allowing the Blue Jays to come back from a 14-9 deficit. When Williams returned to the mound in Game Six, Joe Carter teed off on him for the second World Series walk-off home run in history.

Williams reportedly received death threats throughout the 1993 offseason, which he spent at his ranch in central Texas to escape the fans’ fury. Philadelphia general manager Lee Thomas chose to deal Williams to the Houston Astros (for right-handers Doug Jones and Jeff Juden), stating, “I think he’ll do well in Houston, but I also think he would have had a difficult time coming back to Philadelphia.”[13]

Williams did not do well in Houston. He earned only six saves. In the final three years of his career after the 1993 World Series, Williams appeared in just 52 games, fewer than in any single season with Philadelphia.

 

MINOR LEAGUE MEETINGS

The annual winter meetings of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, commonly known as the minor leagues, convened December 10-15 in Atlanta. The 1993 meetings were quieter than usual due to the absence of most major-league executives, but scouts and farm directors gathered to conduct business and to oversee the Rule 5 Draft.

Feelings regarding the absence of executives were mixed. Atlanta GM John Schuerholz made an appearance, as did Pittsburgh’s Cam Bonifay. Interim Commissioner and Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig argued, “We have enormous problems, but the circus atmosphere took the focus away from what we have to do.” Philadelphia general manager Lee Thomas, however, retorted, “It’s a week of free publicity and we’re throwing it away.”[14]

Baltimore Makes a Blockbuster Deal; Seattle Shuts Down Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles went into the 1993 season looking to make good on Angelos’s promise to put the best ballplayers on the field. To that end, they targeted one man: first baseman Rafael Palmeiro of the Rangers.

Palmeiro rejected Texas’s  offer of $26.5 million for five years, and when the Rangers signed former San Francisco Giants first baseman Will Clark, Palmeiro found himself in search of a new team. The Orioles and Palmeiro came to terms on a $30 million deal on December 12, and Palmeiro brought a much-needed bat to the Oriole lineup. In the 1993 season, the slugger had hammered 37 home runs and driven in 105 runs.

Baltimore’s division rival, the New York Yankees, missed their intended target when lefty Randy Johnson agreed to a four-year, $20.25 million deal to remain with the Seattle Mariners. Johnson would have been eligible for free agency after the 1994 season. The Yankees were reluctant to pursue such a big-name signing since owner George Steinbrenner allegedly wanted to keep the team’s 1994 payroll under $45 million.[15]

Minor Headlines Made Via the Draft

The 1993 Rule 5 Draft, held on December 13, featured few players of note. The New York Mets selected catcher Kelly Stinnett from the Cleveland Indians. Stinnett spent parts of 14 seasons in the majors, working with some of the greatest hurlers of his time, including Cy Young Award winners Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, Randy Johnson, Zack Greinke, Brandon Webb, Tom Glavine, and Pedro Martinez.

The Florida Marlins picked up Antonio Alfonseca from the Montreal Expos. The right-handed Alfonseca, known for his polydactyly (six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot), pitched six scoreless innings of relief in three games in the Marlins’ 1997 World Series victory. He led the majors in saves in 2000 and was a key piece of the 2002 trade with the Cubs that brought Rookie of the Year phenom Dontrelle Willis to Miami.

More Teams on the Horizon

The successful, smooth expansion of major-league baseball with the addition of the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins in 1993 set the stage for a second round of expansion. While the minor-league meetings commenced in Atlanta, the owners sat down with Jerry Colangelo, owner of the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association, to discuss the possibility of a major-league team in Phoenix.[16] St. Petersburg, Florida, remained in the running thanks to a taxpayer-financed ballpark built in 1990.

The possibility of two more teams in the majors pushed the realignment issue to the fore. Adding Colorado and Florida meant the American and National Leagues each had two seven-team divisions. The surfeit of teams made it increasingly difficult for teams to reach the playoffs; in 1993, the San Francisco Giants won 103 games and finished with the second-best record in the majors but missed out on the playoffs after losing the division by one game. However, this point of contention remained unsettled until the owners met in early 1994.

 

OWNERS’ MEETINGS

When the owners finally sat down after the new year, they found several pressing issues on their plate. First, the office of commissioner remained vacant after Fay Vincent’s resignation following the 1992 season. Second, the looming revenue-sharing agreement and collective-bargaining negotiations threatened the tenuous peace between the owners and the players. Finally, the owners worked on a solution regarding division realignment and league-wide parity.

To solve these issues, the owners met off and on through the offseason, beginning on a blustery January 6 morning in Chicago. The owners would then fly to the warmer climes of Fort Lauderdale to continue the conversation in late January.

Revenue-Sharing Divides Clubs Along Monetary Lines

Club owners butted heads regarding how to share revenue from television broadcasts and playoff games. At the end of the 1993 season, the clubs openly clashed, with large-market teams shutting down meetings and refusing to put increased money into the small-market clubs. To settle the issue, 21 of the 28 clubs would have to be in favor of the revenue-sharing plan. Ten large-market teams (both New York clubs, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Colorado, Florida, St. Louis, and Texas) joined forces to block the plan at meetings in August 1993; the remaining midsize- and small-market teams hoped the Chicago meetings would sway at least three of the 10 clubs.

Interim Commissioner Bud Selig had a significant stake in the agreement. He and his family retained ownership of the small-market Milwaukee Brewers even while Selig oversaw the sport. The Brewers had already dropped mainstays Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Jim Gantner, and general manager Sal Bando reportedly needed to cut $5 million off the team’s $25 million payroll before the 1994 season. Many Milwaukee fans saw the offseason meetings as a last-ditch effort to keep the club in Wisconsin.[17] Other small-market teams in danger included Cincinnati, Minnesota, Montreal, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Seattle.

Richard Ravitch, the league’s chief negotiator, insisted that the owners come to a decision regarding revenue before entering into discussions with the players union regarding a new collective-bargaining agreement.[18] So important was the revenue deal that many assumed Ravitch would resign if the owners could not resolve the issue in Chicago.[19]

The Chicago meetings featured numerous caucuses (divided by market size), and at least two different plans. The large-market plan received only 11 votes while Ravitch’s plan garnered 20. Florida and Texas flipped from their original stance, but the deal still fell a vote short when the meetings adjourned. Essentially, the deal could provide as much as $10 million in subsidies to small-market clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers President Peter O’Malley summed up the conflict by saying, “I was pleasantly surprised with the movement and the amount of money put on the table by the big-market clubs for the small-market clubs today, but this is not just a debate about money. There are a lot of philosophical issues.”[20]

Compromise in Fort Lauderdale

The owners flew south to continue discussions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 18, 1994. Before the owners even sat down to work out a compromise, rumors indicated that St. Louis and Boston might be the teams to tip the balance in favor of a new revenue-sharing deal.

Two days into the meetings, the owners voted unanimously to approve a revenue-sharing plan proposed by Ravitch. The plan, which would come into effect in 1995, would see the top-earning third subsidizing the bottom third. However, the deal hinged upon the players approving a salary cap, which at the time seemed doubtful.

Players Association executive director Donald Fehr reiterated the union’s stance on the salary cap: “[They] want the union to cooperate in adversely affecting the market. That’s what a salary cap is.”[21]

Due to the uncertainty of the agreement and the salary-cap negotiations, the owners chose to postpone the decision regarding a long-term commissioner. The search committee had reportedly settled on Northwestern University president Arnold Weber, while George Steinbrenner tried to use his significant clout to push US Olympic Committee executive director Harvey Schiller into the position.[22] The owners’ inaction left Bud Selig in the position as interim commissioner.

The animosity between the owners and the players hung over the offseason from that point on. Several publications predicted a work stoppage before the 1994 season, and Richard Ravitch geared up for several rounds of clashes with Donald Fehr. In the absence of a commissioner, Ravitch became chief negotiator for ownership.

Realignment Creates More Opportunity in Baseball

In 1993, teams in the majors had a 14.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, with two divisions in each league sending a team to the postseason, but owners saw an opportunity for increased television revenue through realignment and a wild card.

Realignment long hung over the sport, and many teams made moves in the 1993 offseason with new divisions in mind. In the Fort Lauderdale meetings, the owners made this realignment a reality by implementing a Central Division in each league and adding a wild-card slot to the playoffs.[23] This change doubled each team’s chance of appearing in the postseason.

The new rounds in the playoffs also served to ease the tension between the owners and the players. Players would receive 80 percent of the ticket sales for the first three games of the Division Series.[24]

 

CONTINUED COLLECTIVE-BARGAINING DISPUTES

For the remainder of the 1993 offseason and into spring training, Ravitch campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the salary cap. The owners pledged not to lock out players, but the players could strike at any point before or during the 1994 season if a collective-bargaining agreement was not reached. Donald Fehr strongly resisted the idea of a salary cap, arguing that the sharing of revenue would put teams on an even playing field and negate the need for a cap.

Ravitch met with the owners once more during their annual meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late February. He developed a plan to open negotiations with Fehr, and Fehr and Ravitch reconvened after a 13-month hiatus when they met on March 7 at a Tampa, Florida, hotel. Players reported to spring training as usual while their union head came to the negotiating table.

While in Florida, Ravitch met directly with players to further his cause. He presented a rather watered-down version of the owners’ plan in hopes that the lack of details would open a dialogue leading to compromise. Fehr, for his part, saw the owners’ absence and lack of transparency as a confirmation of their disinterest in the players’ demands.

“The players care an awful lot about baseball and working with the owners,” Fehr said, “and if the owners shared that view, they would be here. We had 70-odd players here. Not a single owner will come.”[25]

The continued meetings did not interfere with the start of the 1994 season, which began on Easter Sunday. A sense of foreboding hung over the games, however, with memories of the 1985 strike and 1990 lockout still fresh in many minds.

In mid-April, the owners finally released detailed economic information about each club, a set of documents the players had requested in spring training. With the new information in hand, the union agreed to meet on July 11, the day before the All-Star Game, in addition to a June 3 meeting of team representatives. Meanwhile, the owners met formally and informally throughout the season to adjust their proposal to the union.

On June 7-9, the owners convened at the Westin Hotel in Cincinnati to work on a final proposal regarding the salary cap and to select a new American League president. At these meetings, owners pushed to amend the Major League Agreement; prior to the 1994 season, a strike could be settled by a simple majority, but the resolution at the Cincinnati meetings changed the rule to a three-fourths approval.

The Players Association criticized the move heavily. Donald Fehr said, “That is not a step in the right direction. It’s a direction of people preparing for war.”[26]

When the owners’ 27-page proposal finally made its way to the players, the union scoffed. The owners hoped to reduce free-agency eligibility to four years and to eliminate arbitration entirely. A more contentious point was revenue-sharing between players and owners. Prior to the 1994 season, the players’ share of the revenue from major-league baseball had risen from 42 percent to 58 percent in five years. The owners’ proposal would bring that share back down to 50 percent, costing the players $80 million to $90 million.[27]

 

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

On top of the ongoing battle between management and the players union in the majors, Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) introduced a bill that, if passed, could change the course of the labor dispute entirely. Metzenbaum sought to repeal baseball’s antitrust exemption. Major-league baseball, at the time, was the only sport to have an antitrust exemption, and the passage of this bill would give players a legal avenue to pursue their grievances without a complete work stoppage.

Unfortunately for the union (and for fans who wanted an end to the bickering), the Senate Judiciary Committee shot down Metzenbaum’s bill by a vote of 10 to 7. Metzenbaum, discouraged by the loss, accused the owners of buying votes with the promise of expansion franchises, an accusation that was roundly denied by Bud Selig.[28]

 

A STANDSTILL LEADS TO A STRIKE

Without a meeting of the minds taking place over the All-Star break, Bud Selig pushed the issue even further. He claimed that 19 teams (out of the majors’ 28) were operating in the red so far in 1994, a claim that would later be rebutted by Donald Fehr.

Shortly after Selig’s statement, the players made their counter-offer. Not surprisingly, they rejected outright the proposal of a salary cap and, instead, requested that eligibility for salary arbitration be reduced from three years of service to two and that the minimum salary be raised from $109,000 to at least $175,000. Within a week, Richard Ravitch rejected the players’ proposal.

This final rejection led the Players Association to set August 12 as the strike date. On July 28, the 31 players on the executive board voted to effectively end the season, bypassing the playoffs, on that date.[29] Mike Greenwell of the Boston Red Sox did not mince words, saying, “Let’s be honest: We don’t plan to give in and they don’t. This game is in trouble.”[30]

A few owners stood in opposition to the hard line that Richard Ravitch walked. Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf saw the salary cap as a boon to balance his losses under the new revenue-sharing plan, and first-year Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos publicly disavowed Ravitch’s stance that the players were to blame for the impending strike.

Baseball fans across the country were understandably dismayed by the threatened strike. Fan groups urged counter-protests. Even President Bill Clinton offered his diplomatic skills to put the conflict to rest.

But as the calendar turned to August, another point of contention rose between the owners and the players. The owners missed the August 1 deadline for their annual payment to the players’ pension fund. The payment, based on revenue from the All-Star Game, would have totaled $7.59 million. Ravitch justified the withheld funds by saying, “I think when you’re in the midst of collective bargaining and there’s no agreement, it’s absolutely normal not to make a payment of this nature.”[31]

In the waning days before the strike took effect, the owners and union came together to lay ground rules. Players would be paid until the day before the strike, and if they happened to be on the road at midnight on August 11, the players would have to pay their fare home.[32] Players would collectively lose approximately $5 million, but the union’s strike fund of at least $175 million would cover those losses. For their part, the owners kept a $260 million line of credit in the event of a strike.[33]

The day after players walked off the field, Ravitch and Fehr requested a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in hopes that the intervention would save at least the playoffs, if not the season. Meanwhile, teams like the Montreal Expos and New York Yankees, started to drop nonessential personnel from their payroll.

On September 1, the day that major-league rosters can expand to 40 players, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs each decided to recall players from their minor-league system. With the strike in effect, those players no longer received the salary that they had been receiving with the lower-level club. For example, Pirates pitcher Randy Tomlin lost out on $5,328 per day after being recalled.[34] This added fuel to the labor-negotiation fire.

On September 14, interim Commissioner Selig declared an end to the 1994 season. A last-ditch effort by the union failed to sway the owners. For the first time since 1904, the World Series was canceled. Selig announced the cancellation with the support of 26 of the 28 owners.[35] (The two dissenting voices belonged to Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.)

The financial cost of the strike proved detrimental to both players and owners. Players lost $150 million in salary over the course of the strike, and the cancellation cost the owners an estimated $600 million. The battle continued throughout the 1994 offseason and into the 1995 season, making it the longest strike in major-league baseball history.

 

Notes

[1] Murray Chass. “Going, Going, Sold: Orioles Auctioned for $173 Million,” New York Times, August 3, 1993: B9.

[2] After the strike-shortened 1994 season, Montreal, led by Malone, sold off most of its talent, leading to a decade of irrelevance and an eventual move to Washington.

[3] Herzog spent 38 years involved in MLB in some way, beginning his playing career with the Washington Senators in 1956. He gained fame as a manager, and his philosophy of small ball and hard-nosed defense brought his St. Louis Cardinals a World Series championship in 1982. The Cardinals retired Herzog’s number shortly after he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

[4] In the three-day span of the 1992 meetings, teams spent $225 million on 35 free agents, according to USA Today. See “Winter Meetings Split,” USA Today, November 1, 1993: 7C.

[5] Mark Maske, “Most GMs Prepare to Cut Payrolls; It’s New Ballgame During Offseason,” Washington Post, November 7, 1993: D08.

[6] Trammell spent 19 seasons playing for the Detroit Tigers, winning four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. He returned to the Tigers as the manager from 2003 to 2005, amassing a 185-298 record.

[7] The resultant network, The Baseball Network, paved the way for such sport-owned networks today as the NFL Network and MLB TV. But the network lasted only until 1995, when baseball aligned with Fox Sports, a broadcast partnership that as of 2017 was contracted to last until 2021.

[8] Bonds’ 1992 contract broke the record for most guaranteed money at $43.75 million, but it wouldn’t even fall in the top 100 contracts of all time. Giancarlo Stanton’s 2015 deal guaranteed him $325 million over 13 years, the richest contract signed as of July 2016.

[9] For example, in 1983, the New York Mets led the league in team payroll at $11.6 million. By 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays took top honors with a team payroll of $51.9 million. Ten years later, in 2003, the New York Yankees paid out $149.7 million, and in 2013, the Yankees paid out $228.8 million.

[10] Many of these rookies were implicated in the scandals of the Steroid Era. All-Stars Matt Lawton, Mike Cameron, and Alex Rodriguez each served a ban for violating baseball’s drug policy. Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Gregg Zaun, and Paul Byrd were all named in the Mitchell Report but did not serve any bans imposed by major-league baseball.

[11] Laura Lippman, “Relief at Last,” Baltimore Sun, October 19, 1995. 

[12] “Tragedy Strikes Again for Indians Baseball,” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 1993: 2.

[13] Ross Newhan, “A Wild Day in Baseball Transactions,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1993: 1.

[14] Ross Newhan, “Some Baseball Officials Frown at Owners’ Curve on Meetings,” Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1993: 5.

[15] The future Hall of Famer, known as “The Big Unit,” donned pinstripes for two years, earning a career-high $16 million.

[16] Murray Chass, “Baseball Is Considering New Round of Expansion,” New York Times, December 7, 1993: B15.

[17] Tom Haudricourt, “Brewers’ Future in Owners’ Hands; Important meeting Thursday,” Milwaukee Sentinel, January 4, 1994: 4B.

[18] Murray Chass, “Snow Blows, Fog Arrives, Revenue Meetings Swirl,” New York Times, January 7, 1994.

[19] Haudricourt.

[20] Ross Newhan, “One Vote Shy of Accord,” Los Angeles Times, January 7, 1994: 14.

[21] Mark Maske, “Baseball to Share Revenue; Conditional Plan Adopted by Owners,” Washington Post, January 19, 1994: B1.

[22] Mark Maske, “First in Owners’ Lineup – a Commissioner; Meetings Lead Off With Search for Boss,” Washington Post, January 17. 1994: C4.

[23] Claire Smith, “Central Divisions Added to Baseball’s Lineup,” New York Times, January 20, 1994.

[24] The 1994 season ended in a strike so the divisional alignment experiment would not take place until the 1995 postseason. No further changes to the playoff structure would take place until 2013, when a second wild card was added.

[25] Murray Chass, “Owners Promise to Open the Books,” New York Times, March 8, 1994: B16.

[26] Jerome Holtzman, “Union Cries Foul After Owners Pass Strike Amendment,” Chicago Tribune, June 9, 1994: 3.

[27] Larry Whiteside, “Players’ Union Not Ready to Play Ball With Owners,” Boston Globe, June 15, 1994: 52.

[28] Richard Justice, “Exemption Survives Senate,” Washington Post, June 24, 1994: C4A.

[29] July 28, 1994, featured another historic baseball moment: Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers tossed the 12th perfect game in baseball history (13 if one counts Don Larsen’s gem in the 1956 World Series).

[30] Bob Berghaus, “Battle Lines Are Drawn as Strike Date Is Set for Aug. 12,” Milwaukee Journal, July 29, 1994: 1C.

[31] “Pension Dispute Latest Snag in Strike Talks,” Chicago Tribune, August 3, 1994: 2.

[32] In solidarity with the players, Donald Fehr refused to be paid his seven-figure salary once the strike began. Richard Ravitch, on the other hand, continued to be paid his $750,000 annual salary.

[33] Ross Newhan, “Players Vow Readiness for a Long Strike,” Los Angeles Times, August 10, 1994.

[34]  “Recall of Players Sparks More Conflict,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 2, 1994: 4C.

[35] Murray Chass, “Owners Terminate Season, Without the World Series.” New York Times, September 15, 1994.

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