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The Baseball Trust


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Reserve Clause 2. The Baseball Trust 3. The Supreme Court Steps In 4. The Birth of the Antitrust Exemption 5. Baseball Becomes Unique 6. A Political Football 7. Three Months of State Antitrust Law 8. The Curt Flood Case 9. The End of the Reserve Clause 10. A Shrunken Exemption

About the Author

Stuart Banner is Norman Abrams Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. A noted legal historian, he is the author of many books, including most recently American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own; Who Owns the Sky? The Struggle to Control Airspace from the Wright Brothers On; and Possessing the Pacific: Land, Settlers, and Indigenous People from Australia to Alaska.


"Splendid....[A] valuable corrective to the widely held view that the romance of baseball was the main reason that courts have treated it with special solicitude....Mr. Banner, who teaches law at the University of California, Los Angeles, is himself a sure-footed historian and a legal writer of exceptional grace and clarity."--Adam Liptak, New York Times "Among the most compelling baseball books this season..."--David Ulin, Los Angeles Times "Stuart Banner, a law professor and noted legal historian, explores the history that led to baseball's being the only sport exempt from antitrust laws. Through the use of extensive primary materials, Banner leads the reader through the history of the decisions that ultimately led to 'such a weird state of affairs'....The Baseball Trust is a well-researched and entertaining look at how antitrust law has affected the national pastime."--Library Law Journal "One of the great puzzles of the history of both baseball and anti-trust law is the 'exemption' granted to the baseball industry from anti-trust law. Nearly everyone agrees that the exemption, which is not available to other professional sports, makes very little sense as a matter of law or economics. Stuart Banner demonstrates that the exemption was not intended to serve the usual reason for avoiding anti-trust laws, but rather to preserve baseball's 'reserve clause,' which bound players indefinitely to their clubs and thereby reduced the players' leverage. By following shrewd advice from lawyers, organized baseball was able to convince both the courts and Congress that replacing the reserve clause with free agency would undermine competitive balance. Even though this turned out not to be the case, baseball's anti-trust exemption remains in place. Banner's book will be the place to start in understanding that curious anomaly."--G. Edward White, author of Creating the National Pastime "In this important study, Banner provides extensive treatment of organized baseball's battle with antitrust regulations....[A] decidedly strong contribution to the literature on organized baseball and the law."--Library Journal "This is the best single-volume history of baseball's antitrust exemption. Prof. Banner does an excellent job mining primary sources to show how savvy lawyers and baseball officials laid the groundwork for 'baseball's bizarre monopoly.' Banner brings a lawyer's rigor, a historian's discerning eye, and a baseball fan's ear to this very important work of baseball and American legal history. This is a tale that needed to be told."--Brad Snyder, author of A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports "Through The Baseball Trust, Banner provides baseball fans, legal scholars, and historians alike with a tremendous source on this highly complex topic."--Journal of Sport History

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