Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for June contains 31 print titles and 11 eBook titles and ranges in subject matter from Abortion — Law and legislation; Sexual minorities — Legal status, laws, — United States; Sex discrimination against women — Law and legislation — United States – History; Genocide – History; Capital punishment – History; and Detention of persons — Cuba — Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.
The title that caught the attention of this reader was Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events by Edmund P. Edmonds, Notre Dame Law School and Frank G. Houdek, Southern Illinois University School of Law (Call No. KF3989.2. E36 2017). It is a book that strives to cite the entire field of baseball’s intersection with law with nearly 400 individual accounts that, taken together, give a clear picture of the profound effect that law has had on baseball. The chapters include Baseball Origins and Club Teams, 1791-1865 — Professionalization and the Rise of Leagues, 1866-1902 — The National Commission Era, 1903-1920 — Landis in Charge, 1921-1944 — Owners on Top, 1945-1965 — MLBPA and the Rise of the Players, 1966-1995 — Selig, Steroids and Baseball Prosperity. Sweeping in scope, this book leaves no stone unturned about court cases and other legal aspects associated with the national pastime. The authors have taken great pains to produce a magisterially inclusive volume that features a chronological text and a huge bibliography. The book, with its list of cases and statutes , is one that every fan or researcher needs on the shelf to answer any legal question pertaining to baseball.
The book begins by recalling that in 1791, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, ordinance prohibited ball playing near the town’s meeting house. Ball games on Sundays were barred by a Pennsylvania statute in 1794. It goes on to the story that in 2015, a federal court held that baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws applied to franchise relocations. Another court overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice. A third denied a request by rooftop entrepreneurs to enjoin the construction of a massive video screen at Wrigley Field. This exhaustive chronology traces the effects the law has had on the national pastime, both pro and con, on and off the field, from the use of copyright to protect not only equipment but also “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. An original recording, featuring Edward Meeker and the Edison Orchestra was among the sound recordings selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in its National Recording Registry in 2010. See Baseball’s Greatest Hits: The Music of Our National Game for more on the song including “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and Suffrage and Love Triangle on the Baseball Diamond.