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The Baseball TrustA History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption$
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Stuart Banner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199930296.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 September 2019

The Reserve Clause

The Reserve Clause

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 The Reserve Clause
Source:
The Baseball Trust
Author(s):

Stuart Banner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199930296.003.0001

This chapter examines the history of the reserve clause, a standard term in player contracts in Major League Baseball that effectively bound a player to his team for his entire career, and how it led to the sport's near-complete exemption from antitrust law. It first traces the origins and the early use of the reserve clause, along with the many court decisions between 1890 and 1914 involving the clause. The labor practices that formed the core of baseball's monopoly date to 1879, when the owners of the National League teams first agreed on what would come to be called the reserve clause. The chapter asks why no antitrust investigations were undertaken in Congress and no antitrust suits were filed before the 1910s, and why the players did not press antitrust claims against baseball. It also considers the Supreme Court's 1922 ruling stating that the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 did not apply to professional baseball.

Keywords:   reserve clause, player contracts, Major League Baseball, antitrust law, baseball, monopoly, National League, Congress, Supreme Court, Sherman Antitrust Act

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