12 August 1994

Major League Baseball players go on strike, eventually forcing the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

The 1994 Major League Baseball (MLB) strike was a significant event in the history of professional baseball in the United States. It was a labor dispute between the MLB players’ union, known as the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and the team owners that resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

The primary issue that led to the strike was the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the MLBPA and the team owners. The players were concerned about several key issues, including salary structure, revenue sharing, and the owners’ desire for a salary cap. A salary cap would have limited the total amount of money a team could spend on player salaries, which the players strongly opposed.

Negotiations between the players’ union and the owners reached an impasse, leading to the players’ decision to go on strike on August 12, 1994. As a result of the strike, the remainder of the 1994 MLB season was canceled, including the playoffs and the World Series. This marked the first time in 90 years that the World Series was not played.

The cancellation of the World Series was a significant blow to fans, players, and the sport as a whole. The absence of the postseason not only deprived fans of the excitement of the playoff games but also had economic ramifications for the teams and the league. Attendance and television ratings dropped, and the overall popularity of baseball suffered as a result of the labor dispute.

The strike lasted for 232 days, making it the longest work stoppage in MLB history. It finally came to an end on April 2, 1995, when the players and owners reached an agreement on a new CBA. The agreement did not include a salary cap, which was a major victory for the players’ union. Instead, the agreement included provisions for revenue sharing and a luxury tax, which were aimed at creating a more balanced financial structure among teams.

While the 1994 strike had a significant impact on the sport, it also led to reforms and changes that would shape the future of Major League Baseball. The cancellation of the World Series served as a reminder of the importance of labor-management relations and the need for compromise to ensure the stability and success of the game.

12 August 1865

Joseph Lister performs 1st antiseptic surgery.

On the 12th August 1865 Joseph Lister carried out the world’s first antiseptic surgery using the chemical phenol, otherwise known as carbolic acid. Lister is remembered among the greats of medical science for being the first person to identify the link between clean hospital conditions and infection rates.

To understand the importance of Lister’s achievement, it’s important to remember that in the 19th Century up to 50% of all hospital patients died of infection. This often occurred after surgery, during which time patients developed ‘ward fever’ – a non-specific range of secondary infections caused through poor hospital hygiene where surgeons weren’t required to wash their hands or even their stained operating gowns.

Having read the work of the Frenchman Louis Pasteur regarding the spread and growth of bacteria, Lister became interested in finding a way to remove infection-causing micro-organisms from hospitals. Germ theory of disease was only just becoming more widely accepted, but after discovering that carbolic acid, now referred to as phenol, had successfully been used to reduce the smell of raw sewage Lister began experiments using it as what became termed an ‘antiseptic’.

On the 12th August Lister used a piece of lint covered in carbolic acid to cover the compound fracture wound of a seven-year-old boy, and found that over a period of six weeks the wound healed without developing gangrene. Developments in surgical hygiene followed. As well as surgeons wearing gloves, they began to wash their hands in carbolic acid, as well as washing their instruments in Lister’s 5% solution and spraying it liberally around the operating theatre.

12 August 1944

Waffen-SS troops massacre over 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

etiopiaea01-375x304

On that day in 1944, four columns of Hitler’s crack 16th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, noted for their ideological fervour, made the grinding journey up to Sant ‘Anna from the plains. Rome had been liberated two months before; slowly and expensively the British and the Americans were forcing the Germans back up the Italian peninsula, down which they had come roaring earlier that year after Mussolini was sacked by the Italian king and Italy switched to the Allied side.

In August 1944 the Nazis were defending the “Gothic Line” which ran from north of Viareggio on the Ligurian coast to the peaks of the Appenines. But they were fighting on another front, too, because on the fall of Mussolini, groups of anti-Nazi Partisans sprang up in towns and villages across northern Italy, waging guerrilla war on the Nazis from strongholds in the hills.

As four companies of the SS came up the hills before dawn, Sant’Anna slept the sleep of the innocent and the relatively secure. With war now raging up and down the Gothic Line, and thousands of Nazi troops encamped in the nearest town, Santa Pietra, terrorised civilians had fled for the hills in large numbers. “Men fled from the town because the Nazis were rounding them up for forced labour, either in Italy or in Germany,” says Enio Mancini, curator of Sant’Anna’s Historical Museum of the Resistance.

“Additionally the Allies had started bombarding the German frontline. So whole families fled from the towns and about 1,000 refugees arrived in Sant’Anna. They came because it was so isolated, there was no motorable road in those days so it seemed safe. There were families from the surrounding area but also from as far away as Genoa and Naples.”