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The Lords of the Realm Paperback – March 1, 1995

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Wall Street Journal sports reporter (and Barbarians at the Gate co-author) John Helyar has produced an entertaining and concise look at the real reasons that Major League Baseball has become the big business that it is today--and a definitive glimpse at where America's erstwhile national pastime is likely to head in the coming years. With vividly painted portraits of significant players from Ty Cobb to Bud Selig, it offers both a current picture and an historical perspective that will prove invaluable to fans of the game as well as to students of business as the lords of the game continue to struggle with business problems that have forever altered their sport. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Helyar ( Barbarians at the Gate ) presents a history of player-owner labor relations that dissects baseball for the big-business it is. As background, he shows how the owners intimidated players into accepting low salaries and prohibited their movement through the reserve clause, which made the player the property of his team forever. The central character of the book is union organizer Marvin Miller. Helyar relates how Miller overcame anti-union feelings of the players, and how he succeeded in overturning the reserve clause with the cases of Catfish Hunter, Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith. He scored another win after the strike of 1981, when he hood-winked the baseball owners into salary arbitration, which grossly inflated salaries. We're shown the commissioners: pompous Bowie Kuhn; Peter Ueberroth and his disastrous "collusion" policies that caused the owners to pay millions of dollars in retribution to players for restricting their free movement; and Fay Vincent, whose tenure was soap-operish. This enlightening and provocative book may be too legalistic for the casual fan. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345465245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345465245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. Bratz on November 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of my biggest complaints about the sports section of most newspapers these days is that it has more crime and business news than sports. I normally don't like reading about the business of sports, but this book is outstanding. It's a history of labor negotiations through the history of baseball, and exposes the owners as some of the greediest and stupidest people you'll ever read about.
Marvin Miller made them all pay for their stupidity, getting exactly what he wanted from his negotiations with them. The book is full of great anecdotes. One of my favorites was when Jimmy Foxx won the American League Triple Crown and they tried to cut his salary the next season, because he hadn't hit as many homers as he did the year before. He actually had to hold out just to get the same pay he made the year before.
All baseball fans should read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B Ardell Young on May 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heylar has written a detailed, sometimes complicated, book that fully explains the state of baseball in 2000. Perhaps, some readers will find the narrative slow and plodding but if you are interested in baseball, the rich detail, of the book, that omits no information that would help explain a particilar point is most welcome.
Heylar weaves the familar of baseball history such as Cobb, Ruth, Mantle, and the major historic games of the sport with the economics that really drove the game but was kept out of sight until Marvin Miller stepped onto the stage of baseball.
The book is valuable and unique because of the coverage of the economic underside of baseball and how the power structure within the game has shifted since the early 1970s.
The book is a must read for someone who is interested in the real "history" of baseball.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brad Dunn on March 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know about baseball, this is the one book you MUST read. From the early days of robber-baron owners, to the formation of the most powerful union in the world, this book tells it all in great detail. I cannot recommend it enough to fans of the game as well as anyone interested in the history of business in America. It has been said that to know the history of America, you must know the history of baseball. This book exemplifies that thought. Its out of print, but try as hard as you can to find a copy. You will not be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maybe one of the best books I have EVER read. If you are a basbeall fan and have NOT read this book, you only know half of the story. This book contains all of the history that explains the present. Get past the dogma of "greedy ballplayers" and understand how baseball got to where it is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Starts slowly -- the first century of baseball history is covered in just one chapter. May be initially disappointing if the reader expects stirring on-field accounts rather than baseball in the boardroom. But read on to find a fascinating, epic history full of strategy, tactics and colorful characters. Marvin Miller the saint, Peter Ueberroth the genius and Fay Vincent the politically incompetent are just a few who march across its stage. For one thing the owners and labor reps are more intelligent than the jocks out there on the field so their thoughts and reflections are more interesting as well. Overall, one draws the conclusion that no one ever really owned a baseball team to make money, a reflection on the intelligence of the owners. Ironically, the book ends in 1994, just before what we know now was to be the most incredible labor action of them all, and its subsequent rejuvenation courtesy of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and the new-style ballparks. A supplementary volume would be great to see.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book gives the reader great insight into the century-old history of the baseball owners' stormy relationship with their players. Through the 1960's, the owners would do virtually anything for their players but pay them well. In the 1970's, players won the major victory of free-agency. Then, through the 80's and 90's, players have been avenging their past suffering with a vengeance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Khalil Gibran on September 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Helyar's book dives into the long, tumultuous history of the business of baseball. He shows the evolution of the game from a sport completely dominated by the owners to a struggle between the owners and the labor union. Most chapters show an evolution from this standpoint, with a few asides about popular baseball issues during their time (i.e. the suspension of George Steinbrenner and Pete Rose). Lots of interesting tidbits can be found in this book, such as why Dodgers Stadium serves only Miller beer products and how Catfish Hunter got his nickname. One downside is the book is slightly lengthy (over 600 pages), but a large majority of it is relevant, interesting, and easy to read. I strongly recommend this for any fan of baseball.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Schwedler on August 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a rare book about the history of baseball owners. That wouldn't seem like a subject that's nearly as interesting as the feats of the players (and it's not), but it's a fascinating story all the same. There's great stories about eccentric owners like Charlie Finley, Walter O'Malley, Ted Turner, and George Steinbrenner. It shows their consistent ineptitude at dealing with issues like arbitration, free agency, revenue issues and fan relations. And yet the game of baseball goes on no matter how they try to screw it up. And why is major league baseball the nation's only legal cartel? Helyar explains it for you.
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