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Baseball and Antitrust Laws
"The somber drama from old Mudville's
haunted lot."
Grantland Rice

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Baseball and Antitrust Laws

Justice Blackmun Opinion
June 19, 1972
Seal Of The Supreme Court

Petitioner, a professional baseball player "traded" to another club without his previous knowledge or consent, brought this antitrust suit after being refused the right to make his own contract with another major league team, which is not permitted under the reserve system.

... For the third time in 50 years the Court is asked specifically to rule that professional baseball's reserve system is within the reach of the federal antitrust laws. Collateral issues of state law and of federal labor policy are also advanced.

...And one recalls the appropriate reference to the "World Serious," attributed to Ring Lardner, Sr.; Ernest l. Thayer's "Casey at the Bat"; the ring of "Tinker to Evers to Chance"; and all the other happenings, habits, and superstitions about and around baseball that made it the "national pastime" or, depending upon the point of view, "the great American tragedy."

Poem excerpt:

Grantland Rice

Ten million never heard of Keats, or Shelley, Burns or Poe; but they know "the air was shattered by the force of Casey's blow"; they never heard of Shakespeare, nor of Dickens, like as not, but they know the somber drama from old Mudville's haunted lot.

The drama grew in force and flame, and Berserk went the mob,
With Casey representing more than Hornsby, Ruth, or Cobb;
And as the pitcher cut one loose as if fired from a gat —
Say, here's a guy who never heard of "Casey at the Bat!"

"The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate."
And as the pitcher shot one through to meet the final test
There's one low and benighted fan who never heard the rest.