MLB owners were found liable of collusion in three separate lawsuits brought by the MLB Players Association regarding the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons. Then, they were ordered to pay the players $280 million for salaries lost in 1990.
Reeling from that, and a disastrous television rights deal with CBS, owners proposed a salary cap and revenue-sharing deal in June 1994 that MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr, understandably distrustful of the owners' intentions, rejected.
With no collective bargaining agreement in place, the owners decided to withhold a $7.8 million payment to the MLBPA pension plan due the same month. The players, backed into a corner, set Aug. 11 as their strike date. The season was canceled on Sept. 14 by acting commissioner Bud Selig, resulting in the first year without a World Series since 1904.
Only an injunction from future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then presiding in the infamous U.S. Southern District in New York, prevented MLB owners from using replacement players and brought the players back in April 1995.
The owners lost $580 million in profits, players lost $230 million in salaries and baseball lost a good majority of its fans, only to see them come back when … well, that's a story for another time.