The 1981 Major League Baseball Players strike

Today in Labor History

 On June 12, 1981, a Major League Baseball strike began, forcing cancellation of 713 games. The strike was called by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Many sportswriters and fans placed the blame on the owners: they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency.

Sports Illustrated ran this cover headline: “Strike! The Walkout the Owners Provoked.”

The owners demanded compensation for losing a free agent player to another team. The players maintained that any form of compensation would undermine the value of free agency.

Photo: Members of television crew that normally televises Chicago Cubs games were the only ones in Wrigley Field, June 12, 1981. Fred Jewell/AP