White Sox: Could History Repeat Itself With Possible Labor Strike?

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8 May 1994: Outfielder Lance Johnson of the Chicago White Sox in action at the plate during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.
8 May 1994: Outfielder Lance Johnson of the Chicago White Sox in action at the plate during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. /
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White Sox lost the chance to compete for a World Series in 1994 due to a labor strike. Could potential strike after 2021 season ruin title hopes for Sox?

With the White Sox waiting on a decision to be made by Manny Machado on which team he will sign with, there are other free agents that are still unsigned. Last offseason, many free agents were still unsigned at this same point.

There have been rumblings about a potential strike coming in the next few years as players are starting to voice their opinions on the current labor market in MLB. Players aren’t getting signed, prospects are being held back for service time manipulation and owners are being accused of colluding to suppress player salaries.

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If a strike were to occur after the 2021 season as the MLB Player’s Association and owner’s failure to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement, it could greatly affect the Sox. This would be history repeating itself as the 1994 strike affected the Sox ability to reach the postseason in consecutive years and the possibility of reaching the World Series.

The Sox could be contending sooner rather than later, and if they’re coming off a season where they don’t win a World Series championship, the threat of no 2022 season could hurt. Many players that are currently in the minors such as Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Dylan Cease, and others could lose valuable playing time if there’s a work stoppage in the near future.

After the 1994 strike, the Sox didn’t recover for a number of years in the standings and in regards to attendance. They missed the postseason in 1995 after a shortened season. The Sox came close to reaching the postseason in 1996 but were three games behind in the American League Wild Card standings. Attendance dropped from an average of 30,402 in 1994 to just 22,204 in 1995. This paved the way for what most Sox fans see today in low attendance at home games.

Many baseball fans are aware of how the 1994 strike ruined the Montreal Expos. The Expos along with the Sox in 1994, looked to be one of the stronger teams in MLB that season. Montreal had a 74-40 record while the Sox had a 67-46 record before the work stoppage. What many baseball fans don’t talk about is how the 1994 strike ruined the opportunity for the Sox to have sustained success in the early ’90s.

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If another work stoppage takes place for the 2022 season, it could have another negative effect on the Sox and their efforts to have sustained success. Hopefully, for Sox fans and fans of MLB, the MLBPA and owners will be able to come to an agreement of a CBA that’s beneficial for everyone in 2021. If not, the Sox could be the one team that stands to be the most affected by another work stoppage.

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