Time flies when your professional sports league spends a decade on steroids. Almost twenty years have passed since the last lockout in baseball that began during the 1994 season and continued into 1995. The 1994 season was a broken one, ending without a champion declared. The season had the potential to be a memorable one. Due to the strike, we will never know.
Taking a look back at the season, the teams, and the accomplishments from the players, what could a full 1994 season have brought us?
Montreal Expos World Series Champions
When the strike officially began the Montreal Expos were in first place. Not only that, they were the best team in the league with a 74-40 record. Montreal was well on their way to winning 100 games and then dominating the in playoffs. Big bats belonging to Moises Alou and Larry Walker along with a young Pedro Martinez on the pitching staff could have given something Montreal never had, a world champion. Now that the Expos are in Washington, it will never happen.
Matt Williams Home Run Record
It would not have been impossible for San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Matt Williams to break what was at the time Roger Maris’s home run record of 61. When the season ended, Williams had 43 home runs. Most likely he would have fallen short without a hot finish to the season.
Tony Gwynn Hitting .400
The shortened season ended with San Diego Padres’ outfielder Tony Gwynn batting .394 in 100 games. Had Gwynn been able to get in a few more at-bats in August and September, he could have raised the average above the coveted .400 mark. Not since Ted Williams in 1941 has a batter finished with an average over .400.
An Even Lower ERA for Greg Maddux
In his second season with the Atlanta Braves, pitcher Greg Maddux showed the team just how good he was. Maddux had 25 starts and 202 innings in 1994 with a 1.56 ERA. He also had 10 complete games of those 25 games he took the mound. These statistics make his 16-6 record look like nothing. Maybe even most impressive of all, Maddux continued this into 1995. That year, in 28 starts, he had a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA. These two seasons came after Maddux won 20 games in 1992 and 1993. Had there been no strike Maddux would have had an even better four-year run than he did. This still didn’t stop him from winning four consecutive Cy Young Awards.
Five 20 Game Winners
A full season in 1994 could have given us the chance to see five players win 20 games. At the time of the strike, Jimmy Key led the league in wins with 17 of them. Tied in second with 16 wins were Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Ken Hill, and David Cone. Most would have gotten about eight more chances to start games – meaning, even winning half of them could have earned them their 20th win.