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The Big Leagues Go to WashingtonCongress and Sports Antitrust, 1951-1989$
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David George Surdam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039140

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039140.001.0001

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A Brief History of Professional Team Sports

A Brief History of Professional Team Sports

(p.7) 1 A Brief History of Professional Team Sports
The Big Leagues Go to Washington

David George Surdam

University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces the history of professional team sports in order to place the issues covered in the Congressional hearings in the proper context. It first considers the rise of baseball as America's national pastime and Major League Baseball (MLB)'s decision to maintain two separate leagues, the American League and the National League. It then discusses the dispute between MLB and the rival Federal League, along with the emergence of other sports that achieved Big League status, namely, football and basketball. It also examines the prosperity of the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) as well as the appearance of new challengers to their dominance after World War II. Finally, it looks at the Flood v. Kuhn, a Supreme Court case that challenged baseball's reserve clause, along with the rise of free agency.

Keywords:   professional team sports, baseball, Major League Baseball, football, basketball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, Flood v. Kuhn, reserve clause, free agency

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