A Question of (Anti)trust:Flood v. Kuhn and the Viability of Major League Baseball's Antitrust Exemption

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Vol: 8, Issue: 1, Page: 69-86

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Tsimpris, William Basil
Antitrust and Trade Regulation
article description
Jacques Barzun once commented that "[w]hoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball., Taken literally, this assertion is shortsighted, 3 and in today's society "the national pastime" has long ceded its status as America's dominant team sport. In one area, though, baseball still holds a distinction other sports cannot claim: Throughout much of its history, Major League Baseball (hereinfter "MLB") has enjoyed a judicially-created exemption from federal antitrust laws, an exemption not afforded to other sports. This casenote will examine the history and strength of the MLB antitrust exemption from the perspective of Flood v. Kuhn, in which the United States Supreme Court upheld MLB's reserve system by classifying baseball's status as an "exception" under federal antitrust laws. In addition, this casenote will examine the effect on MLB, its players, its member cities, its prospective member cities, its fans, and the public at large, created by the passage of the Curt Flood Act of 1998, which dissolved the exemption only as far as it inhibited the employment rights of players under federal antitrust law.