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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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The Rivalry Begins

The Rivalry Begins


(p.5) 1 The Rivalry Begins
Baseball on Trial

Nathaniel Grow

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the history of the rivalry between the Federal League and the American and National leagues and how it culminated in a legal battle. The Federal League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was established in 1913, with the goal of challenging the supremacy of the two established major leagues. It was formed from the remnants of two failed 1912 ventures, the Columbian League and the United States League, through the initiative of John Powers, William McCullough, and Otto Stifel. This chapter first traces the beginnings of the Federal League, from its inception to its creation of franchises, recruitment of players, and team owners' efforts to elevate the stature of their fledgling circuit. It then discusses the origins of the Federal League's legal tussle with organized baseball, focusing on its use of the Sherman Antitrust Act to challenge the latter's blacklisting practices and the reserve clause and to convince the federal government to launch an antitrust probe of both leagues.

Keywords:   reserve clause, Federal League, American League, National League, John Powers, William McCullough, Otto Stifel, organized baseball, Sherman Antitrust Act, blacklisting

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