Legal Briefs

Important legal cases and stories involving baseball player free agency and Major League Baseball’s Antitrust exemption. Choose the highlighted hyperlinks (in green) for details on each. Comments for additional links and stories are welcomed.

Pennsylvania Baseball Club v. Napoleon Lajoie, 1900-1902

Historical documents and overview of one of the earliest free agency cases;    Napoleon Lajoie Biography

The Cincinnati Reds v. Armando Marsans, 1914

Story of Cuban star Armando Marsans and his fight to play in St. Louis for the new Federal League

Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs et al. — United States Supreme Court, 259 U.S. 200, May 29, 1922 

Case overview;    Details of court ruling

Gardella v. Chandler, et al. — District Court, Southern District of New York, July 13, 1948 and United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit, November 29, 1949

Initial case decision involving players moving to the Mexican Baseball Leagues from MLB

Case overturned on appeal and would later be settled out of court

George Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc. et al. , United States Supreme Court, 346 U.S 356, November 9, 1953

Case overview of Toolson’s challenge to the reserve clause;   Supreme Court ruling in Toolson v. New York Yankees

Curtis C. Flood v. Bowie K. Kuhn, et al. —United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 443F.2d 264, April 7, 1971 and United States Supreme Court, 407 U.S. 258, June 19, 1972

Overview of Flood v. Kuhn;   Appeals Court Ruling;   Supreme Court Ruling

Andy Messrsmith and Dave McNally Arbitration (Seitz Decision), December 23, 1975 and Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp. v. Major League Baseball Players Association, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 9, 1976

Overview of the “Seitz Decision” allowing free agency in arbitration;   Appeals court final ruling allowing free agency

Curt Flood Act – United States Congress 1998    Congress changes anti-trust status of Major League Baseball


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