Baseball and the law: a selected annotated law Libr

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Abrams, Roger I. “Two Sports Torts: The Historic Development of the Legal Rights of Baseball Spectators.” Tulsa Law Review 38 (2003): 433-43.

Abrams looks at the history of spectator liability beginning with runaway chariots in the Roman Coliseum. This interesting article covers the first baseball tort as well as the first tort at the World Series, which occurred in 1903.



*366 Gaspard, James G., II. “Spectator Liability in Baseball: Nobody Told Me I Assumed the Risk!!!” Review of Litigation 15 (1996): 229-50.

Each season spectators at baseball parks around the country are hit by foul balls. This note examines the many legal aspects of spectator liability in baseball.



Hylton, J. Gordon. “The Baseball Spectator Injury as a Case of First Impression.” Tulsa Law Review 38 (2003): 485-502.

Hylton looks at the evolution of the right of spectators to sue for injuries occurring at the ballpark. This article looks at the earliest cases and discusses why it was not until the second decade of the twentieth century that the issue of injuries due to foul balls was resolved by the courts.



Tierney, Ted J. “Heads Up!: The Baseball Facility Liability Act.” Northern Illinois University Law Review 18 (1998): 601-17.

Historically, Illinois baseball fans hit by foul balls were unable to recover damages. In 1992 this changed when a fan successfully won his case against the Chicago Cubs. Illinois promptly passed the Baseball Facility Liability Act.57 The article discusses why this act should be repealed.



Property Rights

Adomeit, Peter. “The Barry Bonds Baseball Case—An Empirical Approach—Is Fleeting Possession Five Tenths of the Ball?” Saint Louis University Law Journal 48 (2004): 475-502.

While fans have always enjoyed the thrill of taking home a home-run ball from the ballpark, as increasing numbers of baseball records are broken, home-run balls and foul balls take on a value far beyond the sentimental. Adomeit discusses the case of Popov v. Hayashi58 involving the ball hit by Barry Bonds for his record seventy-third home run.



Finkelman, Paul. “Fugitive Baseballs and Abandoned Property: Who Owns the Home Run Ball?” Cardozo Law Review 23 (2002): 1609-33.

By first looking at all of the possible owners of a coveted home-run ball, Finkelman sets the stage for a discussion of the law of abandonment and the common law of baseball. He then looks at two specific instances of home-run ball ownership: Mike Piazza and the Mets, and Barry Bonds’ seventy-third home run.



Semeraro, Steven. “An Essay on Property Rights in Milestone Home Run Baseballs.” Southern Methodist University Law Review 56 (2003) 2281-2300.

Addressing the ownership issue involved with milestone home-run balls, Semeraro refutes the theory that it is the fan who catches the ball who is the owner. He addresses both property and contract law issues, and the doctrine of accession.



Stoklas, Patrick. “Popov v. Hayashi, A Modern Day Pierson v. Post: A Comment on What the Court Should Have Done with the Seventy-third Home Run Baseball Hit by Barry Bonds.” Loyola of Chicago Law Journal 34 (2003): 901-43.

*367 This comment looks at the theory of acquisition by capture as originally developed in the case of Pierson v. Post.59 Applying this legal theory to current case law, the comment also looks at how the theory of acquisition was applied in the case of Popov v. Hayashi,60 which resolved the dispute over ownership of the seventy-third home-run ball hit by Barry Bonds.



Race and Baseball

Devine, James R. “The Racial Re-Integration of Major League Baseball: A Business Rather than Moral Decision; Why Motive Matters.” Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law 11 (2001): 1-72.

While it has long been held that Branch Rickey’s decision to integrate the Brooklyn Dodgers was driven solely by moral obligation, Devine offers another perspective with regard to this historic event. Examining integration in the context of history, Devine looks at the signing of Jackie Robinson by Rickey as a business decision rather than a decision driven by a moral obligation.



Kuziemko, Ilyana M., and Geoffrey C. Rapp. “Customer Racial Discrimination in Major League Baseball: Is There No Hope for Equal Pay?” Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy 7 (2001): 119-40.

This article uses several mathematical tables to support its hypotheses about customer discrimination in baseball. Kuziemko and Rapp look at whether minority players are worth more to teams in cities with high minority populations, as well as the salaries of players in these cities.



Mathewson, Dennis. “Major League Baseball’s Monopoly Power and the Negro Leagues.” American Business Law Journal 35 (1998): 291-318.

Mathewson offers an interesting look at the demise of the Negro Baseball League, contending that the league folded for reasons unrelated to the integration of Major League Baseball. Among the reasons he suggests are weak contracts and monopoly over the markets by Major League Baseball.



Regalado, Samuel O. “Latin Players On the Cheap: Professional Baseball Recruitment in Latin America and the Neocolonialist Tradition.” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 8 (2000): 9-20.

While names like Sosa, Alou, and Galaragga are familiar to today’s baseball fan, the importation of Latin American players has taken place since the 1930s. This article looks at the history of Latin American players coming to the United States, neocolonialism, and how baseball has acted much like other major industries in this regard.



Vargas, Angel. “The Globalization of Baseball: A Latin American Perspective.” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 8 (2000): 21-36.

Virtually every team in Major League Baseball has players from Latin America. This article, written by the president of the Venezuelan Baseball Players *368 Association, addresses the mistreatment by Major League Baseball of players from Latin American countries.



Williams, Jack F., and Jack A. Chambless. “Title VII and the Reserve Clause: A Statistical Analysis of Salary Discrimination in Major League Baseball.” University of Miami Law Review 52 (1998): 461-527.

This statistical study looks at salary and racial discrimination in Major League Baseball. Reviewing rosters and revenues from the 1987-88 season, the authors conclude that there is strong evidence that the reserve system perpetuates discrimination based on race.



Reserve Clause

Balfour, Alan, and Philip K. Porter. “The Reserve Clause in Professional Sports: Legality and Effect on Competitive Balance.” Labor Law Journal 42 (1991): 8-18.

Balfour and Porter present evidence as to the impact of the reserve clause in maintaining competitive balance in the game. The article provides convincing evidence in support of its contention that the reserve clause should not be ruled illegal under the Antitrust Act.



Role of Agents

Fehr, Donald. “Union Views Concerning Agents: With Commentary on the Present Situation in Major League Baseball.” Marquette Sports Law Journal 4 (1993): 71-87.

Fehr discusses the role of agents in salary arbitration and provides background with regard to the evolution of this relationship. The article also examines how the players’ union views agents and their involvement in salary arbitration and collective bargaining.



Salary Negotiation and Arbitration

Abrams, Roger I. “Inside Baseball’s Salary Arbitration Process.” University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 6 (1999): 55-70.

After a brief discussion of the history of the salary arbitration process, Abrams addresses such issues as player performance.



Conti, Jonathan M. “The Effect of Salary Arbitration on Major League Baseball.” Sports Lawyers Journal 5 (1998): 221-47.

Reviewing the history of salary arbitration in baseball, Conti does an excellent job of explaining the salary arbitration process and the controversy that surrounds it. Additionally, he explains how salary arbitration effects large- and small-market teams and explores alternatives to the current system.



Echevarria, J. Michael, and Christopher D. Cameron. “The Ploys of Summer: Antitrust, Industrial Distrust, and the Case Against a Salary Cap for Major League Baseball.” Florida State University Law Review 22 (1995): 827-84.

The authors discuss the demands of baseball owners to institute a salary cap and the rebuttal by players that claims of financial woes on the part of owners are *369 akin to the cries of Chicken Little. The authors discuss both the Clayton Act61 and the Sherman Antitrust Act62 and contend that the demands by owners would have been declared illegal in almost any other industry.



Faurot, David, and Stephen McAllister. “Salary Arbitrations and Pre-Arbitration Negotiation in Major League Baseball.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 45 (1992): 697-710.

Using two primary assumptions, Faurot and McAllister provide an in-depth look at baseball salary arbitration. The authors consider the importance of final offers in pre-arbitration negotiation and the risk neutrality assumption in conjunction with the arbitrator exchangeability hypothesis. They also discuss the Major League Baseball arbitration procedure.



Gillard, John P., Jr. “An Analysis of Salary Arbitration in Baseball: Could a Failure to Change the System be Strike Three for Small-Market Franchises?” Sports Lawyers Journal 3 (1996): 125-40.

Gillard provides an insightful look at the large-market, small-market disparity that exists in Major League Baseball. He points out that revenue problems and salary arbitration can be traced back as far as 1898 when Cy Young played for the Cleveland Spiders.



Gould, Mark T. “Now Wait a Minute, Casey: Baseball and the Salary Cap in Light of NBA v. Williams.” Entertainment & Sports Lawyer 13 (Spring 1995): 9-11.

At issue in most grievances that arise in Major League Baseball is money. This article looks at the issue of salary caps in baseball in relation to the NBA and the case of National Basketball Ass’n v. Williams.63




Green, Richard E. “The Taxing Profession of Major League Baseball: A Comparative Analysis of Nonresident Taxation.” Sport Lawyers Journal 5 (1998): 273-301.

While most people would agree that professional baseball teams bring revenue to the cities where they are located, municipal governments continue to look for additional ways to generate revenue. Taxes, of course, are one way for governments to raise additional funds. This article discusses the practice of taxing the well-paid professional athlete who is not a resident of the state where the professional sport team is located.



Joannou, Doufekias. “The IRS Gets Its Money When You Do: FICA and FUTA Taxation in the United States v. Cleveland Indians Baseball Co.” Tax Lawyer 55 (2001): 319-27.

When a major league arbitration panel found that the Major League Baseball clubs had violated the collective bargaining agreement with regard to bidding on *370 free agents, the resulting settlement called for each club to pay into a settlement fund. This article deals with a Supreme Court decision64 involving the Cleveland Indians and the payment of taxes on back wages.



Newkirk, Stephanie. “Foundation’s Ownership of Professional Baseball Team is Fair Play Under I.R.C. Section 501(c)(3).” University of Missouri Kansas City Law Review 65 (1996): 263-302.

This article looks at the tax ramifications of the transfer of the Kansas City Royals from private ownership to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, specifically considering the charitable status of the Royals as owned by a charitable organization.



Picher, Thomas C. “Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption Repealed: An Analysis of the Effect on Salary Cap and Salary Taxation Provisions.” Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law 7 (1997): 5-68.

Picher discusses antitrust law and its application to sports as well as the trilogy of Supreme Court cases that established baseball’s antitrust exemption.



Women in Baseball

McPhillips, Matthew J. “‘Girls of Summer’: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Past, Present, and Future of Women in Baseball and a Roadmap to Litigating a Successful Gender Discrimination Case.” Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law 6 (1996): 301-39.

With the popularity of the movie A League of Their Own,65 the role of women in professional baseball has been brought to the forefront. This comment looks at the strides women have made in the sport while also acknowledging the glass ceiling that continues to slow further progress.




Ham, Eldon. “Aside the Aside: The True Precedent of Baseball in Law; Law, the Residue of Luck—or, Who’s Not on First?” Marquette Sports Law Review 13 (2003): 213-21.

This is a brief and entertaining article on the common law, luck, and baseball and the law. Ham looks at baseball and the law in a historical context and includes a review of the origins of baseball writing in American law.



Jarvis, Robert M.. “Babe Ruth as a Legal Hero.” Florida State University Law Review 22 (1995): 885-97.

This article discuses the two reported cases in which Babe Ruth was a party, as well as other cases that have mentioned Ruth. Also discussed are those cases where judges have made references to Ruth in their opinions. The article also discusses scholarly references that mention the Sultan of Swat.





© Amy Beckham Osborne, 2005.


Foreign and International Law Specialist, University of Kentucky, Alvin E. Evans Law Library, Lexington, Kentucky. The author wishes to thank Duane Osborne whose love of baseball and knowledge of the game inspired this bibliography. This bibliography is dedicated to the memory of Chester Beckham and Frank Osborne with whom many hours were spent at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.




Pub. L. No. 105-297, 112 Stat. 2824 (1998) (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 26b (Supp. II 2002)).


Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258 (1972).


Aside, The Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule, 123 U. PA. L. REV. 1474 (1975).


Robert M. Jarvis, When the Lawyers Slept: The Unmaking of the Brooklyn Dodgers, 74 CORNELL L. REV. 347 (1989) (reviewing NEIL J. SULLIVAN, THE DODGERS MOVE WEST (1987)).


483 N.E.2d 1245 (Ill. 1985).


Although there is no legal entity known as Major League Baseball, this term is commonly used to refer to the joint operations of the American League of Professional Baseballs Clubs, Inc. and National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc.” Minnesota Twins P’ship v. State, 592 N.W.2d 847, 849 n.1 (Minn. 1999) (citing discussion of 1903 agreement between American and National Leagues in Joseph J. McMahon, Jr. & John P. Rossi, History and Analysis of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption, 2 VILL. SPORTS & ENT. L.F. 213, 230-31 (1996)).


Pub. L. No. 105-297, 112 Stat. 2824 (1998) (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 26b (Supp. II 2002)).




407 U.S. 258 (1972).


112 Stat. 2824.


Act of July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209.


831 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1993).


112 Stat. 2824.


26 Stat. 209.


Fed. Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200 (1922).


112 Stat. 2824.


Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258 (1972).


Fed. Baseball Club, 259 U.S. 200.


112 Stat. 2824.


Piazza v. Major League Baseball, 831 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1993).


112 Stat. 2824.


518 U.S. 231 (1996).


Baseball Antitrust Immunity: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Antitrust, Monopolies and Business Rights of the Comm. on the Judiciary, 102d Cong. (1992).


NCAA v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., 468 U.S. 85 (1984).


Chicago Prof’l Sports Ltd. v. Nat’l Basketball Ass’n. 754 F. Supp. 1336 (N.D. Ill. 1991).


Piazza v. Major League Baseball, 831 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1993).


Pub. L. No. 105-297, 112 Stat. 2824 (1998) (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 26b (Supp. II 2002)).










Coscarart v. Major League Baseball, No. C 96-1426 FMS, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9797 (N.D. Cal. July 10, 1996).


Piazza v. Major League Baseball, 831 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1993).


407 U.S. 258 (1972).


644 So. 2d 1021 (Fla. 1994).


112 Stat. 2824.


592 N.W.2d 847 (Minn. 1999).


112 Stat. 2824.


Ch. 323, 38 Stat. 730 (1914) (codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 12-27, 44, 29 U.S.C. § 52 (2000)).


Piazza v. Major League Baseball. 831 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1993).


Butterworth v. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs, 640 So.2d. 1021 (Fla. 1994).


Piazza, 831 F. Supp. 420.


No. 92 Civ. 4398 (N.D. Ill. July 23, 1992) (order granting preliminary injunction) (withdrawn and vacated Sept. 24, 1992).


95 F.3d 959 (10th Cir. 1996).




131 F.Supp. 262 (E.D.N.Y. 1955).


Cardtoons, 95 F. 3d 959.






Philadelphia Baseball Club Co. v. Lajoie. 13 Ohio Dec. 504 (C.P. Cuyahoga Co. 1902).


24 F. Supp. 490 (W.D. Pa., 1938).


MD. CODE ANN., FIN. INST. § 13-723 (1992 & Supp. 1995) (abrogated Mar. 31, 1996).


532 U.S. 504 (2001).


Lajoie, 13 Ohio Dec. 504.


407 U.S. 258 (1972).


745 ILL. COMP. STAT. 38/1 (2002).


No. 400545, 2002 WL 31833731 (Cal. Super. Ct. Dec. 18, 2002).


3 Cai. R. 175 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1805).


Popov, 2002 WL 31833731.


Ch. 323, 38 Stat. 730 (1914) (codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 12-27, 44, 29 U.S.C. § 52).


Act of July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209.


45 F.3d 684 (2d Cir. 1995).


United States v. Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., 532 U.S. 200 (2001).


A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (Columbia Pictures 1992).

97 LLIBJ 335

© 2014 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

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