Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Since the inception of professional baseball, team owners have imposed limits on the freedom of players to negotiate contract terms. In this article Professor McCormick traces the history of attempts by professional baseball players to obtain contractual freedoms through the use of the antitrust and labor relations laws, attempts that culminated with the players' strike of 1981. Although players in other team sports successfully have utilized antitrust laws to increase player bargaining power, Professor McCormick argues that labor law has provided baseball players the only effective means to gain increased contractual freedoms. Professor McCormick concludes that player-owner disputes over the reserve system in baseball today fall within the labor exemption to the antitrust laws and, therefore, that players and owners will resolve future conflicts solely within the structure of labor relations law.