Essay on History: Major League Baseball and Players

Submitted By chaerrard
Words: 1324
Pages: 6

Labor Relations in Professional Sports
Midterm Paper

The originators of organized baseball constitute the reserve system in the late 1870’s. In National League, each club could reserve five players on roster. The reserve system didn’t accept that the owners intermeddle with other club’s players. Before reserve system, salaries and benefits established as much as 60 percent of revenue. The percentage diminished to less than 15 percent on average steadily. With demolish of the reserve system in the mid-1970, the percentage of salary and benefits escalated to 54.9 percent in 1994. Roger Abrams wrote, ‘Under the reserve system, the contract of a player who signed with a club was that club’s property for as long as he played baseball or until his employer assigned his contract to another club or, alternatively, “released” the player’. (47page- Baseball and the Law) The players didn’t have special right to be interested by other owners of clubs. Players were not respected as a person. They were just commodity of owners for gaining profits. The reserve system was named as a “monopsony” by economists. Players could be traded and resigned by only one employer. Roger said, ‘Clubs exploited the monopsony when they earned more from the player’s contributions to the enterprise.’ Even though Owners got more profits than they paid for player, the players didn’t have a right to demand more salaries because of the reserve system.
226 consecutive game not error (NL RECORD) and 568 times not error at defense opportunity (MLB RECORD), and seven Golden Glove Awards. These records show that Curtis Charles Flood (January 18, 1938 – January 20, 1997) was a renowned player as the best defensive player rather than attack at 1960’s. He had been popular center fielder of Saint Louis Cardinals at 1960’s. Fans remember him as the best defensive player. Also, he is remembered as a brave revolutionist for correcting order of the rights and dignity of baseball players. He filed a suit against organized baseball, claiming that baseball’s reserve system. Flood’s suit is recorded as an important moment in the relationship between baseball and the legal process. After the season of 1969, he was traded to Phillies by force of owner. He even didn’t know the fact that he will be traded to Phillies, and he even heard of the fact from reporters not front of the team. He said, ‘After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the several States.’ (From ‘A well-paid slave’) He was outraged because of the unwanted trade, and he decided to make a frontal challenge to history of Major league Baseball. He asserted his right to be offered a contract from other teams. However, his request was ignored by Bowie Kuhn who was a commissioner of MLB. Flood filed a $1 million lawsuit against Kuhn and Major League Baseball on January 16, 1970. He argued that Major League Baseball had violated federal antitrust laws. He felt that he got sense of humiliation from the system, and he compared the reverse clause to slavery. In 1970, the owners and the MLBPA accepted 10/5 Rule. Players with ten years of Major League service, the last five seasons with the same team, could refuse to trade to unwanted teams. Flood was traded by this rule, and this rule is called the “Curt Flood Rule” sometimes.
After nine years of the creation of the National League and before six years of the creation of American League, in 1900, the Player’s Protective Association which included players was created. The Fraternity of Professional Baseball America was created in 1912, and the American Baseball Guild is organized in 1946. None of these efforts was enough for demise of the reserve clause which bounds players to their respective teams.
In 1965, there was nothing