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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 (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 August 2021

A Shrunken Exemption

A Shrunken Exemption

(p.237) 10 A Shrunken Exemption
The Baseball Trust

Stuart Banner

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on baseball's antitrust exemption, which remains one of the strangest doctrines in the American legal system. Despite the end of the reserve clause that paved the way for free agency, club owners continued to enjoy the perks that come from baseball's immunity from federal antitrust law, whereas the other major professional sports are still governed by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League lost most of the antitrust suits filed against them by players, teams, and competing leagues. Courts found that the reserve clause of each of the three sports violated the Sherman Act, even as all of them reached virtually the same outcome as baseball regarding free agency and the player draft through collective bargaining. The chapter concludes by analyzing why Congress failed to come up with legislation that would treat all sports equally.

Keywords:   baseball, antitrust exemption, reserve clause, free agency, antitrust law, Sherman Antitrust Act, sports, antitrust suits, collective bargaining, Congress

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