I tweeted the ticket and Phungo noticed right away that this (and all) June 12 tickets weren't torn because MLB players went on strike after June 11, a work stoppage that lasted for two months. Players sought resolution of lingering ownership dodges around free agency and most at issue were owners wanting compensation for "losing" players to higher contracts elsewhere (summarized at Wikipedia).
The lengthy mid-season strike also meant an unusual "first half winner vs. second half winner" playoff compromise, with some teams knowing they were "in" based on a good first couple of months, leaving them unlikely to play as hard in August and September. Cincy claimed MLB's best overall record without leading at either end, so their only consolation was this banner.
|1981: The Year Baseball's Best Record Wasn't Good Enough|
As a young fan, I enjoyed MLB's second half "reset" for a chance Seattle would play meaningful games in September. They improved from .368 first half ball to .442, a notable change, but still several games off the pace. It'd be another 14 years before 1995's squad achieved their amazing mid-season turnaround and playoff run. In the meantime, I did my best to enjoy being part of the "Pepsi Jr. Mariner" fan club. Joining cost about $15 and came with kids tickets to a half-dozen games and an on-field photo day with Seattle players, posing pretty much like you see here.
Seattle chose a young lefty in a striped polo shirt for their model, about as close to me as you could get in 1981. Does it go without saying All-Star first baseman Bruce Bochte immediately became my favorite player? Bruce was the man.