From Strikes To World Wars To Pandemics — The History Of Shutting Down America’s SportsBreaking News
tags: labor, Olympics, World War 1, World War 2, Sports History
SALT LAKE CITY — It takes a lot to come between Americans and their sports. To bring our games to a stop requires apocalyptic events — world war and pestilence (sometimes at the same time). Oh, and also labor issues, the bane of professional sports.
What exactly has stopped sports over the years? Glad you asked.
There are too many to explain each event, but it’s enough to say they were largely about somebody trying to make more money. It’s a relatively new phenomena; the first one didn’t occur until 1972, according to Newsday. The sheer number of them might surprise you. Major League Baseball (eight) is the undisputed champ of labor discord.
1972 — MLB strike (6-8 games lost per team)
1973 — MLB lockout (no games lost)
1976 — MLB lockout (no games lost)
1980 — MLB strike (no games lost)
1981 — MLB strike (713 games canceled)
1982 — NFL strike (seven regular-season games lost per team)
1985 — MLB strike (25 games postponed and played later)
1987 — NFL strike (one week of games canceled, replacements used for three weeks)
1990 — MLB lockout (no games lost)
1992 — NHL strike (30 games postponed)
1994 — NHL lockout (season shortened to 48 games per team)
1994-95 — MLB strike (948 games canceled, including all of the 1994 postseason; canceled 18 games for each team to start the 1995 season)
1998 — NBA lockout (32 games canceled per team)
2004 — NHL lockout (season canceled)
2011 — NFL lockout (no games lost)
2011 — NBA lockout (each team lost 16 regular-season games)
2012 — NHL lockout (each team lost 34 games)
In a curious case of bad timing, the Olympic Games were awarded twice to cities that would be at the heart of world war in the years they were scheduled to host the Games — Berlin in 1916, and Tokyo in 1940. The 1916 Berlin Games were canceled because of World War I, and 30 years later the Games were held in Berlin, just as Germany was about to start WWII. The Games of 1940 were moved from Tokyo to Helsinki after Japan made war against China, and then a year later Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Anyway, the Games of 1940, as well as the Games of 1944, were canceled because of World War II, and 20 years later the Games were held in Tokyo. (As a side note: The 2020 Summer Games were scheduled once again for Tokyo but were postponed one year because of the pandemic.)