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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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(p.219) Epilogue
Baseball on Trial

Nathaniel Grow

University of Illinois Press

This epilogue explores issues arising from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s opinion in Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National League. It begins with a discussion of criticisms against the decision, including the notion that Holmes simply does not consider the business of professional baseball to be sufficiently interstate in nature to fall within the ambit of the Sherman Antitrust Act. It then offers arguments supporting Holmes, first by insisting that at the time he wrote the opinion it actually “represented a fairly orthodox application of then prevalent constitutional doctrine.” This is followed by an analysis of several mistakes made by the Baltimore Federals's legal counsel in the suit. The epilogue also looks at two other cases in which the Court has affirmed Federal Baseball: Toolson v. New York Yankees in 1953 and Flood v. Kuhn in 1972. Finally, it comments on recent attempts to limit the scope of baseball's antitrust exemption to just the reserve clause, contending that they are contrary to the actual history of the Federal Baseball case.

Keywords:   interstate commerce, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, National League, Sherman Antitrust Act, Baltimore Federals, reserve clause, antitrust exemption

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