Katz: Baseball’s epic strike of 1981

From SABR member Jeff Katz at The History Reader on May 19, 2015:

Those who think Major League Baseball is simply about the play on the field are too romantic and those who think it’s only about the business off the field are too cynical. The truth is somewhere in between and no season shows that better than the Split Season of 1981, unforgettable for the rise of rookie phenom Fernando Valenzuela, the insanity of George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, the drive and ambition of Pete Rose’s pursuit of the all-time National League hit record and the last World Series match-up of the Yankees and Dodgers. It was historic year off the diamond, with the first mid-season strike in sports history. 

When the strike came on June 12, 1981 I was heartbroken. It would have been unfathomable to that almost 19-year-old me that I would one day speak with, and meet, the principals of the day.
Talking to your idols is the strangest thing. When I called Marvin Miller, the Executive Director of the Players’ Association, and a man I truly admired, I was amazed how even in his nineties, he had such a wonderful memory and was flawless in his recollection. As I looked at decades old articles laid out before me, Miller was confirming or embellishing as if he had the same pieces in front of him. It was amazing.

Read the full article here: http://www.thehistoryreader.com/sports-history/split-season-baseball/

Originally published: May 19, 2015. Last Updated: May 19, 2015.