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Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law Hardcover – February 2, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Baseball may be just a game on the field, but it's a a complex web of contracts and consolidations off of it; from the moment William Hulbert invoked the power of the legal system to unite a disparate group of clubs into the National League in 1876, the law and the game have turned into fascinating teammates. Abrams, the Dean of Rutgers University Law School and a Major League salary arbitrator, has produced an engaging episodic history of the connection--from Monte Ward's attempt to form the first union in the late 1800s to the labor wars of the '90s that made the sports page sound like the civil code. Along the way, he stops to examine Napolean Lajoie and the institution of the reserve clause, baseball's anti-trust exemption and Curt Flood's fight for free agency, Marvin Miller and modern collective bargaining, arbitration, collusion, and the Pete Rose scandal. Comprehensive and anecdotal, Legal Bases covers as much ground as a good shortstop and interprets complex arguments and issues with the clarity of a catcher's sign. The final verdict: Appealingly absorbing. --Jeff Silverman

From Publishers Weekly

As much as the purist might insist that the game itself is the thing, not the salaries, contracts and cost over-runs on new stadiums, a rounded knowledge of the game is incomplete without considering baseball as a business. As dean of Rutgers Law School, baseball salary arbitrator and sincere grassroots fan, few have Abrams qualifications for writing on baseball and the law. The book is organized around "nine men and one woman who played pivotal roles in its history. They constitute our 'All-Star Baseball Law Team.' " The "team" (apparently the 10th player is justified by the designated hitter rule) is chosen to illustrate important principles of baseball and law dating from the 19th century (John Montgomery Ward) through the reserve clause challenge (Curt Flood) to baseball's crimes (Pete Rose). Abrams claims that the importance of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was too great to fit in just a chapter, but many readers will still wish for more on the man who shaped the business of baseball more than any other single individual. The book focuses almost entirely on the U.S. majors, though it would have been interesting to see more on international baseball or the minor leagues (e.g., on the recent Professional Baseball Agreement that dictates relations between minor and major league baseball or on minor league umpire Pam Postema). The writing is a bit dry and overly detailed, but the book will serve as a valuable reference for the ardent baseball student.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (February 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566395992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566395991
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roger I. Abrams is the Richardson Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. An honors graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard Law School, Professor Abrams is a recognized authority on Sports Law. He has published four books on the business of sports: LEGAL BASES: BASEBALL AND THE LAW (TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1998); THE MONEY PITCH: BASEBALL FREE AGENCY AND SALARY ARBITRATION (TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2000); THE FIRST WORLD SERIES AND THE BASEBALL FANATICS OF 1903 (NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY PRES, 2003); THE DARK SIDE OF THE DIAMOND: GAMBLING, VIOLENCE, DRUGS AND ALCOHOLISM IN THE NATIONAL PASTIME (ROUNDER BOOKS, 2008). His fifth book, SPORTS JUSTICE: THE BUSINESS AND LAW OF SPORTS, will be published by University Press of New England in October 2010.
Professor Abrams has served as a Major League Baseball salary arbitrator starting in 1986, and he is regularly asked to comment on legal and economic issues involving the national game by the print and electronic media. His blog on the business of sports is featured on Huffington Post. In the fall of 2006, Professor Abrams served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dennis G. on July 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Abrams' book is an easy to read journey through the history of legal proceedings in baseball. His knowledge about the law gave this book the potential to be hard to understand, but he clearly explains the law in terms that any non-lawyer can understand.
This is not necessarily the book for the casual fan, but if someone is really interested in the law within the baseball framework, this is a great starting place. The anti-trust exemption, reserve clause, free agency, and collective bargaining are among the topics covered by Abrams.
Abrams has worked as an arbitrator for major league baseball, so he is not afraid to give his opinions to the major cases that have affected baseball throughout the years. He does an excellent job of penetrating to the core of the complex decisions and explaining them in clear terms.
This book clearly covers the objectives it sets out to cover. This book should be on the shelf of any serious fan that wants to know more about the legal side of the game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone who enjoys the game of baseball can appreciate this book. We all hear about the current state of the industry, but few really understand how or why the status quo evolved. This book does a good job of providing a history of the antitrust exemption, free agency, and many other topics which still play a major role in the game today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randy Given on August 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a good introduction to current baseball law. There are many areas covered and some that this baseball fan and law fan (by no means am I an attorney, though) that interested me. If you have wondered what goes on behind the scenes, give this book a read. It is easy to read and not at a "high-falutin'" level.
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By Christina on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Immediate shipment. Product in perfect condition and even came with a bookmark and pencil- could not have asked for better service.
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