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Baseball on TrialThe Origin of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption$
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Nathaniel Grow

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038198

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038198.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Baseball on Trial
Author(s):

Nathaniel Grow

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038198.003.0001

This book examines the history of the Federal Baseball litigation and explains how Major League Baseball first came to be exempt from antitrust law. In a unanimous ruling, penned by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., in the 1922 case of Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, the United States Supreme Court held that the “business of base ball” was not subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act because it did not constitute interstate commerce. The Court has affirmed Federal Baseball on two separate occasions, first in 1953 and then again in 1972, giving Major League Baseball antitrust immunity. This book examines how baseball came to enjoy its unique antitrust status, and more specifically why Justice Holmes concluded that the sport was not interstate commerce and thus not subject to federal antitrust law. It argues that the decision was consistent with the prevailing judicial precedents of the day and highlights several critical tactical mistakes committed by the Baltimore Federals's counsel throughout the litigation.

Keywords:   antitrust law, Federal Baseball litigation, Major League Baseball, Supreme Court, Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, National League, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Sherman Antitrust Act, interstate commerce, antitrust immunity

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