By RONALD BLUM and STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Baseball Writers

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport's collective bargaining agreement expired and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day.

The strategy, management's equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport's labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.

Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994.

Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage.

Mount Rushmore of Baseball Players

Our favorite baseball players from back in the day.

The Moments That Have Defined Ian Anderson's Baseball Career

2021 World Series Artifacts Will Live in Cooperstown at Baseball Hall of Fame

Artifacts from the 2021 World Series that featured the Atlanta Braves' first championship since 1995, made their way to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. The Braves beat the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday night in Houston, clinching the World Series in game 6, 4 games to 2.

The baseball artifacts were on display in Albany at the Albany Airport baggage claim area on Wednesday, before making the trip to Cooperstown.

Here are 9 now historic artifacts from the series that will forever live at the Hall of Fame.

2021 Baseball HOF Induction Ceremony