President Obama nominated federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice on Tuesday. If confirmed, the highest court in the land will be represented by someone who made a key ruling on the highest baseball league in the land.
It was Sotomayor's ruling that forced Major League Baseball players and owners to resume the national pastime in 1995 after a 234-day player strike wiped out the final six weeks of the regular season and the entire postseason in 1994.
On Dec. 23, 1994, with collective bargaining negotiations at a standstill, the owners implemented a salary cap. Commissioner Bud Selig announced at the time: "We are committed to playing the 1995 season and will do so with the best players willing to play."
Orioles owner Peter Angelos announced that his team would not use replacement players. Cal Ripken Jr. was due to break Lou Gehrig's "unbreakable" record of 2,130 consecutive games played that following September, but technically Ripken's streak would have been broken had the Orioles used a replacement player for him. That March 20, the Orioles canceled their remaining Spring Training games due to Angelos' refusal.
The strike ended when Sotomayor issued a preliminary injunction against the owners on March 31, 1995. Three days later, the day before the season was scheduled to start, the strike was finally over. Sotomayor's decision to effectively order the 1990 work rules to be reinstated received support from a panel of the Court of Appeals for the New York-based Second Circuit, which denied the owners' request to stay the ruling.
Obama nominated her as a replacement for retiring Justice David Souter, praising her as "an inspiring woman" with both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely.
Obama said, "Born in the South Bronx, she was raised in a housing project not far from Yankee Stadium, making her a lifelong Yankees fan. I hope this will not disqualify her in the eyes of the New Englanders in the Senate."
Barring the unexpected, Senate confirmation seems likely given the large Democratic majority. If approved, she would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a second woman on the current court, the third in history.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.