A look at the history of MLB lockouts and what comes next


Baseball fans may want to hold on to their hottest MLB moments because it seems they are heading to a very frigid December.

Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Dec. 1, and as soon as the clock strikes midnight, a lockout is expected to commence. The goal would be to resolve all issues before spring training takes place in February, but it very well could last till before the regular season begins on March 31.

While the owners of the 30 MLB clubs and their players have publicly expressed optimism that a new deal will be reached, this hot stove might be quickly cooling off.

Baseball hasn't seen a work stoppage in quite a while. The last strike ended the 1994 season, canceled that year’s World Series and even spilled over into the following season. But if no agreement is reached this offseason, then the inevitable lockout will freeze upcoming transactions for the upcoming season. 

If you're a little confused on what all this means, here's all you need to know about how baseball lockouts work and strikes of the past.

When is the MLB CBA expiration date in 2021?

The current CBA (collective bargaining agreement) expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1, 2021.

What is a lockout?

A lockout is a work stoppage or a denial of employment that is initiated by the management of a company during a labor dispute. It is different from a strike, in which the employees refuse to work. A lockout in baseball is initiated by the owners, which means team executives wouldn’t be allowed to talk to players, make major league signings or swing trades. 

Will there be a MLB lockout in 2022?

Baseball could see its ninth work stoppage and first in 26 years if an agreement is not reached by Dec. 1. If so, the lockout will start Dec. 2, freezing the free agent market and threatening the start of spring training in February.

When was the last MLB work stoppage?

The most recent lockout took place in 1994-95, when a players strike and ensuing lockout lasted for 7.5 months.

How many lockouts have there been in baseball history?

There have been eight strikes and lockouts in major league history:

1972 Major League Baseball strike: Canceled 86 games. The owners conceded after 13 days.

1973 Major League Baseball lockout: Canceled no games. Owners and the MLBPA agreed on a three-year CBA and spring training games resumed.

1976 Major League Baseball lockout: Canceled no games. Players were locked out of spring training the first couple of weeks of March. No regular-season games were missed. 

1980 Major League Baseball strike: Canceled no games. Players went on strike late in spring training and an agreement was reached before the beginning of the regular season.

1981 Major League Baseball strike: Canceled 713 games. The MLBPA went on strike after games on June 11 and games didn't resume until Aug.10.

1985 Major League Baseball strike: Canceled no games. This in-season strike lasted from Aug. 6-7, but the games missed were made up at the end of the season.

1990 Major League Baseball lockout: Canceled no games. This lockout destroyed spring training and pushed the start of the season back a week, but the full 162-game season was played. 

1994–95 Major League Baseball strike: Canceled 938 games and the entire 1994 postseason, including the MLB World Series.

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