Baseball Meets the Law

A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events


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About the Book

Baseball and law have intersected since the primordial days. In 1791, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, ordinance prohibited ball playing near the town’s meeting house. Ball games on Sundays were barred by a Pennsylvania statute in 1794.
In 2015, a federal court held that baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws applied to franchise relocations. Another court overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice. A third denied a request by rooftop entrepreneurs to enjoin the construction of a massive video screen at Wrigley Field.
This exhaustive chronology traces the effects the law has had on the national pastime, both pro and con, on and off the field, from the use of copyright to protect not only equipment but also “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to frequent litigation between players and owners over contracts and the reserve clause. The stories of lawyers like Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Branch Rickey are entertainingly instructive.

About the Author(s)

Ed Edmonds is an emeritus professor at the Notre Dame Law School. He retired in 2016 after having served as law library director at William & Mary, Loyola New Orleans, St. Thomas (MN) and Notre Dame. He has written numerous articles on baseball and antitrust and labor law issues.
Frank G. Houdek is an emeritus professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law. After serving for 30 years as law library director, professor of law, and associate dean for academic affairs at SIU, he retired in 2014. Since then he has pursued his research and writing interests in both baseball and law.

Bibliographic Details

Ed Edmonds and Frank G. Houdek
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6438-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2906-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Baseball Origins and Club Teams, 1791–1865 13
2. Professionalization and the Rise of Leagues, 1866–1902 18
3. The National Commission Era, 1903–1920 44
4. Landis in Charge, 1921–1944 67
5. Owners on Top, 1945–1965 89
6. MLBPA and the Rise of the Players, 1966–1995 112
7. Selig, Steroids and Baseball Prosperity 151
Appendix A: A Selective List of Lawyers Involved with Baseball 173
Appendix B: A Selective Chronology of the Black Sox Scandal 199
Appendix C: A Selective Black Sox Bibliography 206
Chapter Notes 210
Bibliography 258
Index of Cases and Statutes 293
Subject Index 297

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A truly important contribution to the literature of the game. In addition to the vast amounts of material summarized in [the book’s] chapters, Edmonds and Houdek conclude with the excellent and thorough “Index of Cases and Statutes” and “Subject Index,” both which will be of considerable value to anyone planning to research baseball and the law, or even baseball’s social history in general….highly recommended”—Nine
  • “Impressive and well-researched…. The authors have painstakingly detailed an exhaustive account of baseball and the law…a meticulously detailed account of baseball’s most noteworthy legal occurrences. This is a great reference book and should be part of any law library’s collection.”—Law Library Journal
  • “[A] most readable reference that serves multiple purposes…. Edmonds and Houdek have produced a book that will no doubt be an invaluable starting point for any researcher seeking greater insight with regard to any of the nearly 400 accounts referenced herein…enjoyable reference reading…provides unexpected pleasures and fascinating new information on nearly every page”—The SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter
  • “During the past 20 years, books exploring the connection between baseball and the law have become a cottage industry. The genre now has a fine new addition: Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events. As one might expect from two retired law library directors, the book is a detailed reference guide to the game’s most notable legal developments…. [It] is an ideal gift for anyone interested in baseball law.”—Florida Bar Journal
  • “Every lawyer with an interest in sports law in general and in baseball in particular should read this book. It belongs in every academic library.”—Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rarer Books; “If there’s a more complete compilation of the interactions of baseball and the law, I’d like to see it.”—Rick Huhn, Attorney and Baseball Author.