Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On this date in Reds history: Lockout ends and championship season ensues

The 1990 Wire-to-Wire Reds will be a team that fans always remember. But there was a time at the beginning of the year when it looked like the Reds might not play baseball at all.

Negotiations over a new labor agreement between players and owners stalled for months leading up to the 1990 season before eventually spilling over into the commencement of spring training. A basic deal was finally struck between the two parties on this date exactly 24 years ago after a 32-day lockout. The rest is indeed history as Cincinnati went on to claim its fifth championship in franchise history with a convincing sweep over the Oakland A's in the World Series.

This excerpt comes courtesy of Redleg Journal:

March 19, 1990 - The dispute between players and owners is resolved.

Spring training camps opened March 20. The season, scheduled to open April 2, was delayed a week, with the games missed made up on open dates, double headers, and by extending the close of the campaign by three days. The lockout appeared to hurt the Reds more than most teams, with new manager Lou Piniella, who was unfamiliar with most of his own players. Fans, who were burned out by a string of second-place finishes, the Pete Rose suspension, and the lockout, were largely pessimistic entering the season.

One of the most notable outcomes of the agreement was that the minimum salary was raised from $68,000 to $100,000. That figure has since risen fivefold to right at $500,000 in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

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