Charting the Frequency of Work Stoppages in Pro Sports, 1968 to 2011

All the recent news about the battle in Wisconsin over public employee unions, and the likelihood of similar battles in other states, as well as the anticipation of work stoppages in the NFL and NBA, led me to look up all the work stoppages in MLB, the NFL, NBA, and the NHL. Here’s a list of them:

MLB: 8
1972, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1994
NHL: 3
1992, 1994, 2005
NBA: 3
1995, 1996, 1998
NFL: 6
1968, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1982, 1987

And a list of the stoppages organized by the presidential administration in which they happened:
Johnson: 1
Nixon: 4
Ford: 1
Carter: 2
Reagan: 4
Bush: 2
Clinton: 5
Bush II: 1

I had thought that maybe work stoppages were more likely under Republican presidents, but in fact the Clinton administration had the most, G.W. Bush the fewest, and the Obama administration looks set to have at least two.  12 have happened under GOP presidents, and 8 under Democratic ones; but, the GOP has held the presidency in 28 of the last 43 years. Here’s how the breakdown by presidency looks in a pie chart :

Here’s a chart displaying how the pro sports work stoppages break out by decade:

Finally, a pie chart breaking down how many baseball work stoppages occurred in each presidency:

Published in: Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 4:13 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting numbers. As someone who is always interested in politics, especially as it relates to labor unions, not to mention sports, this info will be fun to sift through. It’ll take a while to figure out what it all means, though. Perhaps looking also at which party controlled Congress at the time would add an extra layer of depth that might help us gain meaning from the numbers.
    Thank you for sharing, Bill

  2. I don’t plan on constantly updating this post, but we are in the midst of the third work stoppage in two years: the NHL’s adding to the NBA’s and NFL’s in 2011, not counting the football referees’ lockout this year.

  3. Funny how baseball, which used to have lots of labor-management strife, seems to be the most “peaceful” sport these days. Perhaps that’s because they all recognize that they almost killed the Golden Goose back in ’94.

  4. Looks like the NHL’s 2012-2013 lockout is ending:

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