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The Letdown is Severe

The 1994 baseball season began with realignment and ended in strike. The National and American Leagues both divided into three divisions.

Lee Thomas was quick to get rid of Mitch Williams before somebody in Philadelphia or South Jersey killed him, as many threatened to do. But why did he have to trade Terry Mulholland to the Yankees on February 9 for Bobby Munoz, Ryan Karp, and Ricky Jordan?

As exciting as 1993 was, 1994 was deflating; nothing went right. Schilling and Greene were 2-9 in April and May, the team was 24-27. The magic was gone. They opened the season in the mile-high cold air of Denver, where curve balls go to die, and pitchers wear body armor. Schilling had the opener, and somehow got through five innings only trailing 4-2 though touched for nine hits. The Phillies won with eight in the eighth on two hits, six walks, and two errors; but the effort took something out of Schilling; he was 0-7 before finally winning a game on July 25, when the season was sinking into the strike mudhole.

The strike began on August 12, 1994 when the owners locked the doors to the ballparks and the players went to the beaches and the golf courses. The fans were left to rage at the selfishness of both. The issues were salary caps, free agency, and revenue sharing for small market clubs. On September 14, acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig cancelled the rest of the season, and the post season. The strike cost the owners $580 million in lost revenue, and the players, with an average salary of $1.2 million, were out $230 million.

The 1994 baseball strike marked the death-knell of major league baseball in Montreal. At the time the strike was called, the Montreal Expos had just gone on a 20-3 spurt to run their record to 74-40, six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves. The legions of Expo fans were excited; and then it happened; no more baseball in 1994. 

The anger of the fans never left, even when the team did. Baseball died in Montreal on that August day in 1994. The failing franchise was purchased by the league in 2002, and became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

Lee Thomas was dealing as late as July 31 when he sent Milt Thompson to Houston for a worn-out oil derrick. In October, before the smoke of the burned out season had even begun to settle, Thomas cleared the deck; he granted free agency to: John Kruk, John Marzano, Ricky Jordan, Mariano Duncan, Pete Incaviglia, Larry Andersen, Norm Charlton, Todd Pratt, and Ben Rivera.

By max blue
 

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Tagged:
Atlanta Braves, Ben Rivera, Bobby Munoz, Bud Selig, Curt Schilling, John Kruk, John Marzano, Larry Andersen, Lee Thomas, Mariano Duncan, Milt Thompson, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, Norm Charlton, Pete Incaviglia, Philadelphia Phillies, Ricky Jordan, Ryan Karp, Terry Mulholland, Todd Pratt, Tommy Greene, Washington Nationals

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