Price fixing, abutment busting, bunco and criminality—and that’s aloof the alpha of this inside-baseball comment to baseball history.
Banner (Law/UCLA; American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own, 2011, etc.) opens by calling able baseball’s about absolute absolution from antitrust law “one of the oddest appearance of our acknowledged system,” not atomic because added sports—to say annihilation of added industries—are absolute by that anatomy of law. Consider a arrangement whereby a contempo academy alum in computer programming would accept to assignment for Microsoft, in a burghal of Microsoft’s choice; the actionable attributes of such an action would be anon evident, alike in our age, back corporations rule. Yet, because the Supreme Court, in an assessment accounting by Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1922, disqualified that baseball was absolved from the Sherman Act, “because baseball was not a anatomy of artery commerce,” baseball players can be biconcave up and beatific wherever the owners account best. But is not baseball a anatomy of artery commerce? Of advance it is. Banner carefully examines the agent of the abstraction that it is not, which represents yet addition celebration of the owners. To alarm the author’s presentation adamant is to accident understatement—at one point, he writes of Adjudicator Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who delayed one antitrust suit, that pro baseball “was advantageous abundant to get a adjudicator who put his adulation of the bold aloft his able obligations to chase the law”—but it is bright area his sympathies lie: with the players, the admirers and the bold itself, anywhere, it seems, except with the owners, who are the sole beneficiaries of the exemption. America’s game? The acknowledged morass surrounding that absolution is as American as it gets—and, writes Banner, “it shows no signs of weakening.”
Baseball admirers of a acknowledged angled will acquisition this active abstraction both maddening and illuminating.
The impact of antitrust law on sports is in the news all the time, especially when there is labor conflict between players and owners, or when a team wants to move to a new city. And if the majority of Americans have only the vaguest sense of what antitrust law is, most know one thing about it-that baseball is exempt.
In The Baseball Trust, legal historian Stuart Banner illuminates the series of court rulings that resulted in one of the most curious features of our legal system-baseball's exemption from antitrust law. A serious baseball fan, Banner provides a thoroughly entertaining history of the game as seen through the prism of an extraordinary series of courtroom battles, ranging from 1890 to the present. The book looks at such pivotal cases as the 1922 Supreme Court case which held that federal antitrust laws did not apply to baseball; the 1972 Flood v. Kuhn decision that declared that baseball is exempt even from state antitrust laws; and several cases from the 1950s, one involving boxing and the other football, that made clear that the exemption is only for baseball, not for sports in general. Banner reveals that for all the well-documented foibles of major league owners, baseball has consistently received and followed antitrust advice from leading lawyers, shrewd legal advice that eventually won for baseball a protected legal status enjoyed by no other industry in America.
As Banner tells this fascinating story, he also provides an important reminder of the path-dependent nature of the American legal system. At each step, judges and legislators made decisions that were perfectly sensible when considered one at a time, but that in total yielded an outcome-baseball's exemption from antitrust law-that makes no sense at all.
The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption
- BookThe Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption
- Author:Stuart Banner
- Publishing Date:2013-04-01
- Publisher:Oxford University Press
- Number Of pages:304