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Strike Ends, Anger Remains

Fans all around the country agreed – the baseball strike was, “AN ACT OF WAR.”

Nobody would budge; it looked like the strike would continue into the 1995 season. The owners took steps to hire replacement players; Spring training began with some minor league and other players willing to cross picket lines just for the opportunity to put on a major league uniform. It was an ugly time in baseball history – everybody was conflicted – Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers, nominally a member of management, refused to manage replacement players. In later years, those replacement players good enough to make major league rosters, were ostracized in the clubhouses.

In the end, replacement players were not needed, because U.S. District Court judge Sonia Sotomajor, ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint of unfair labor practices filed against the owners, and the players voted to return to work. The season opening was delayed three weeks because of the late ruling, and it was necessary to reduce the schedule to 144 games. 

Curt Schilling was the Phillies opening day starter when the season finally began on April 26 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis; he gave up five hits and three runs but left with a lead, and would have been the winning pitcher except that lefthander Norm Charlton blew a ninth inning save as the Phillies lost, 7-6. For the year, late inning relief work fell mostly to Ricky Bottalico (5-3, 2.46, 1 save), Toby Borland (1-3, 3.77, 6 saves), and Heathcliff Slocumb (5-6, 2.89, 32 saves).

Except for John Kruk, and with the addition of Greg Jefferies, the Phillies’ opening day lineup in 1995 was virtually the same as the 1993 winners, and like that team, this new version jumped out fast. Buoyed by a four-game sweep of the new division rival Braves in Atlanta from May 5 through 8, they went 21-7 in May, and heading into July held a 3 ½ game lead over the Braves. But that was an illusion as the Braves gathered themselves to go 55-29 in July, August, and September, 21 games better than the Phillies and Mets who tied for second with a 69-75 record.

Rich Ashburn and Mike Schmidt were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

By max blue
 

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Tagged:
Curt Schilling, Detroit Tigers, Greg Jefferies, Heathcliff Slocumb, John Kruk, Mike Schmidt, Norm Charlton, Philadelphia Phillies, Richie Ashburn, Ricky Bottalico, Sparky Anderson, Toby Borland
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