September 14, 1994
Amidst a work stoppage, all 24 Major League Baseball team owners voted to cancel the remainder of the 1994 season. The strike began on August 12, 1994, but the season wasn’t canceled until September 14th. Instead of making up canceled games sometime in November and December, the season was dismissed and baseball became the first professional sport to lose its entire postseason due to a labor dispute.
The cancellation also spoiled the debut of a new playoff system in Major League Baseball. With the addition of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins in 1993, baseball moved from a two-division format to a three-division format in 1994…and added an extra divisional series to the playoff structure.
Perhaps the player most upset about the season cancellation was Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly, who lost his best hopes to be in the postseason for the first time during his 13-year career. The Yankees, who had the best record in the American League at the time, had not been to the postseason since 1981. Mattingly would eventually play in a postseason game the following year in the 1995 postseason, but retired after the season.
It’s fun to remember a time when the Yankees weren’t annually dominating. Sorry, Don.
Impress your co-workers: Before ‘95, Mattingly had more at bats than any other active player without a postseason at bat and had led active players in games played without playing in the postseason. So, kind of like baseball’s equivalent to Dan Marino…but with a way better lip sweater.