18 years ago today the MLB players went on strike. For only the second time since 1903 there was no World Series. (In 1904 John McGraw refused to play in the World Series with his NL champion NY Giants. Things were slightly different back then.)
A few facts to remember:
- The Expos, Reds, and Dodgers led the NL East, Central, and West, respectively. The Braves were the likely wild card.
- Montreal was on pace for 105 wins.
- The Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers led the AL East, Central, and West. The Indians were the likely wild card.
- Texas was on pace for 74 wins. (That’s the only good thing to come out of the strike; avoiding the horror of an under-.500 team in the playoffs.)
- Leading all of MLB in WAR? Greg Maddux.
- Tony Gwynn was batting .394. ‘
- Matt Williams had 43 home runs in 115 games, putting him on pace for 61 homers for the season.
- Jeff Bagwell was 2nd in batting average (.368), second in HRs (39), and first in RBI (116) in the NL.
- Frank Thomas had a 1.217 OPS, which was the 13th best at the time and the highest since Ted Williams’ in 1956.
- Jimmy Key (NYY) had won 17 games. Jason Bere of the White Sox had a .857 winning percentage (12-2).
- The MVPs for the season were Bagwell and Thomas. Confident in saying it’s the only time in MLB history that the winners of the award were born on the same date - May 27, 1968.
So there you go. Lots of great “what ifs.”
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