Institution: One of the
stranger niiiifdings of
sports and poUltcs is
exemption from federal
mi ii i LI-! laws.
The Capitol IIIU hearings that
recently captivated baseball
(ans with their all-star lineup of
witnesses had special resunanee
On one side of a long table sat
the Orioles' newest star
iSommy Sosa). potentially the
next Oriole ajler Cal Ripken Jr.
to be Inducted In the Hall of
Fume (Rafael Palmeiro) and an
wont trade I he team ever made
iCurt Schilling). On the other
side sal Rep. Elijah E. Cum-
minus of Baltimore, among the
Inquisitors on the House Gov-
ernment Reform Committee.
Another Baltimore connec-
tion was more obscure but In-
weapon - Its ability to repeal
ihe 1922 Supreme Court deci-
sion that grunted Major League
lawmakers threatened to do
•„, IT baseball (alls to police ster-
oid use by players. Congress In-
vokes that warning from time to
time, whenever baseball does
something that offends the vol-
Ins public. It's Just Congress
•crying wolf.' but the menlton
atwuys gets baseball's attention.
One of the stranger Intersec-
tions of sport and politics, base-
ball's waiver from the Sherman
Anil-Trust (See Baseball. Zc
HW. Federal 8asctiB Out of
Baihir-ore vs. National League of
Professional BasetxB Cbibs.
Baltimcre dub in sriorl-lived
Federal League sued after it
was only club irable to reach a
settlement with established
major league. Supreme Court
ruled against Banmore,
affirming basebal's antitrust
1S53: Toolson vs. New Viv*
ftratces. George Toolson. a
mnor leaguer In the Yankees
organi:aton, claimed that trie
team violated artitrust taws by
keeping him r tf.e nvnors.
Supreme Court upheld
1972: Flood vs. Kuftn. Curt Rood
s-ed Major League Basebal and
Uie reserve dause. claming it
violated wt ngfiti. The
Supreme Court ruled against
Rood, bul baseball scon ended
use of fte cat.se.
Baseball, politics have a long history
[Baseball, from Page lc Federal League Baltimore Ter- The Justices concluded that much differently from the majo
rapins. The House of Delegates baseball wasn't subject to anti- sports kagues that lack monop
Act of 1890 has long baffled legal voted to make ihclr arrival a trust regulation. The law forbids oly protection. In n of ihcm
state holiday. businesses that engage In com- salaries and ticket prices hav
has been described as "Not one knew his team was In trouble colluding to harm competitors. fan loyalty diminishes
of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s when 1.500 fans showed up to The court concluded that base- Some sports historians con
Like the Dllty Goat Curst that champion New York Olants. weren't commerce and the state strengthened baseball as th
national pastime, others say 1
(.ween Hill Buckner's legs Li a 30,000 that same afternoon. the games.
World Series, the exemption has Financially hobbled, Dunn Transport Is a mere incident. lowed the baseball league
practically become part of base- was forced to unload his stars, not the essential thing." Holmes tighter rein on player -,.'..::•••
ball lore — an oddity token (or Ruth went for a reported $30.000 wrote In the Justices' decision. ticket prices and the movemen
granted but one that no one to the Boston Red Sox. who The exhibition, although made of franchises, stable franchise
seems able to explain. later couldn't afford him either for muney. would not be called built strong following* througl
shaped professional baseball as and cultivated an appeal tlia
we know It And Ihe parallels be- Ruth eventually because that words.' spanned generations, said M
tween the 1922 case at Its origin was how minor league teams The billion-dollar industry Philip Lucas, a baseball hlsU>
rlan at Cornell College In Io*o.
are so eerie that the old '•..•• Jor league baseball created Its wasn't yet evident — nor was
light 2fine theme music should own farm system. But Ruth pre- the significance ofthe ruling. mure volatile In other sports —
swell In the background when sumably could have played In The Sun ran the story about fact appreciated in Baltimore
they are discussed. Baltimore yean longer than he the : : - . • : . on Page 20 on May The city watched Its pro basket
Peter G. Angeles, owner of the did. as Dunn was known for 30. 1922. Deep behind front-page ball team move to suburba
through the past year that this sloned by the lack of support. tion of the Lincoln Memorial In football team's fleeing In 198
region can't support two pro Dunn moved his depleted squad Washington and a setback In and welcomed a new NKL t«ar
baseball teams He was boxed temporarily to Richmond. Va. talks with Germany over war from Cleveland, which : / • - • • .
out by other owners, who de- After two years of battling reparations, the baseball deci- the Ravens, In 1996
cided to move the Munlreel with the established leagues, the sion seemed inconsequential. But bascbitll's exemption ha
also helped forUly the Yankee
new Washington Nationals teams except Baltimore reached Lcairue and Its Ban more fran- and an economic structure c
throw their first pitch tomorrow. chise had expired years earlier. haves and have-nots if bascbal
llshed major leagues baseball The court had opportunities like football, held less sway ove
drought, of pro baseball kn Wash- owners sniffed that Baltimore to reverse its decision In the the location of Its franchises.
ington. was only "minor league" anyway 1950s and again In the 1970s third team might long ago hav
Some 90 years ago. the owner - not the last time the city when other lawsuits arose, but It located In the greater New Yor
of the then •Baltimore Orioles, would suffer .some Insult over decreed that the court had its area, diluting that TV marke
which had relocated from Mont- the comings and goings of Its say and it was up to Congress and the Yankees' ability t<
real, also resisted when It had to pro sporu teams. alone to change the antitrust scoop up the lop free agents es
shore this regton with a second Ned Hankm, owner of the Ter- law to Include baseball ery year, said Bruce K. Johnsor
team. Within a few years, both rapins and before that the Ori- The exemption, strange as a on economics professor at Cer
Baltimore teams were gone and oles, sued. He argued that the knuckkball. remains. tre College in Kentucky. Th
Baltimore wandered In the other owners colluded to de- "Nobody has ever fully under- New York Giants In footbol
desert without major-league stroy his league and his team. stood the ruling, but It's some- haven't been nearly as domlnan
baseball for more than 30 years. Some think baseball's powers thing no one has been willing to as the Yankees in baseball. lx
In i'jjj-5-i. the St. Louis Browns maneuvered to get the lawsuit
moved to Baltimore to become heard in federal court in Chi- Ptetrusza, a baseball author and tune of the New Yurk market.
the Orioles, who begin their cago because a federal Judge co- editor of the encyclopedia 7b- Congress appointed a com
52nd season tomorrow. there. Kenesaw Mountain Lan- lal Baseball. "Politicians are mission lost year to review U.J
Before the Supreme Court's dis, had a keen Interest in base- not In the business of potentially- onllvrust policy, after state an
antitrust decision, baseball ball. Named for the Georgia bat- harming national institutions. It
teams moved like gypsies in the
early 1600s, the original Balti- served the Confederacy. LandLs man who destroyed baseball' " Baseball Is expected to be one
more Orioles relocated to New would later become legendary as Baseball isn't the only bus! i wo dozen exemptions the An'.
York, where they were renamed the first commissioner of major ness so excused. Hundreds of Trust Modernization Comml;
the Highlanders and later be- league baseball. The Judge de- companies are legally allowed to slon will examine.
came the Yankees. Baltimore layed a ruling long enough that collude. Including agricultural If baseball's free pass on ant
soon got a new team, again the Federal Base Boll Club of co-ops and insurance companies trust law ever truly appears i
called the Orioles. In the minor Baltimore Inc. folded. that share risk Information to risk, though, the words of th
But the Court of Appeals In
competed against major-league Washington later ruled Hanlon's share television revenue under Emanuel CelJer. who chaired
teams and often beat them the Sports Broadcasting Act of subcommittee that studied nx
1961, a form of collusion often nopolles In the 1950s, will n
to rival the National and Amerl- S240.000 because antitrust dam- credited with the National toot doubt be recoiled.
ages are tripled by law ball League's financial .success •1 have never known. In my 3
pleased to get a team In the new Baseball appealed to the U.S. Ironically. It's an exception that years of experience, of as threat1
league, according U> Robert W. Supreme Court, which heard baseball could employ but lobby that descended upon i'
Creamer's rich biography of the CUM; on April 19. 1922, Six doesn't. House than the organized bast
Babe Ruth. The city and Its weeks later, the court ruled 9-0 Many fans are barely aware of ball lobby." Celler said at th
newspapers were breathless In favor of the National League baseball's exalted status, partly time. They came upon Was!
about the arrival of the new of Professional Base Ball Clubs. because baseball doesn't behave Ington like locusts.*