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SBJ/July 26 - August 1, 2004/Other News
This week in sports business history: July 26-Aug. 1
Published July 26, 2004
1959: The Continental League, a new professional
baseball league, is formally announced. The new league claims to have no intentions
of becoming a rival to Major League Baseball but hopes to eventually merge with
FOLLOW-THROUGH: The new league never got off the ground, but many baseball scholars claim it had a huge impact on professional baseball. In August 1960, the American and National leagues both announced plans to expand into new cities, which many believe was a reaction to the Continental League.
1981: Major League Baseball’s third
strike and fifth work stoppage ends after 50 days. The strike, centered on free-agent
compensation, causes 712 games to be lost.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: As a result of the strike, owners lost the right to have clubs directly compensated for the loss of free agents. The owners did win the right to retain players for six years and to be compensated with other players as well as amateurs from the draft. Since then, there have been three more MLB work stoppages, including two strikes.
1982: The Atlanta Braves return mascot Chief
Noc-A-Homa and his tepee to an elevated platform in the left-field stands of
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Team owner Ted Turner had the platform removed
so the team could generate more revenue with ticket sales from expected playoff
games. After the mascot’s removal, however, the Braves blew a 10-game lead
by dropping 19 of 21 games. With the mascot back in place, the team recovers
to advance to the NLCS.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Chief Noc-A-Homa lasted a few more seasons before the Braves replaced him with a new mascot.
1986: A New York jury finds the NFL guilty
of monopolizing professional football but awards the USFL just $1 in damages
(tripled to $3 under antitrust law). The jury rejects the rest of the USFL’s
claims. Most important, the jury does not find that the NFL controlled or attempted
to control the television market. The jury finds that although the USFL was
harmed by the monopolization, most of the league’s problems were the result
of its own mismanagement.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: In August of that year, the USFL suspended operations and never played another game.
Clark had a wardrobe malfunction.
1998: A federal judge dismisses Latrell Sprewell’s lawsuit against the NBA, challenging his 68-game suspension for choking his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, and says it was so lacking in merit that Sprewell must pay the league’s court costs. Sprewell, whose original one-year suspension was cut by an arbitrator to the remaining 68 games of the 1997-98 season, claimed in his $30 million suit that the punishment still exceeded the arbitrator’s authority and that he was a victim of racial discrimination.
1998: Three spectators are killed and six more injured when debris from an accident flies into the crowd during the U.S. 500, CART’s marquee event of the season, at Michigan Speedway. The accident occurs when Adrian Fernandez’s car hits a wall, rocketing a wheel and suspension parts over a 15-foot barrier and into the crowd.