Gina ScalzoFollow

Publication Date



School of Education


Sport Management


baseball, MLB, MLBPA, antitrust, Curt Flood, Curt Flood Act, antitrust exemption, labor relations, collective bargaining, baseball strike, baseball lockout, Supreme Court Trilogy, Flood v. Kuhn, Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore v. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Toolson v. New York Yankees


Economic Policy | Labor Relations | Legal Studies | Sports Management | Sports Studies


For many years, professional baseball has enjoyed a privileged antitrust exemption apart from other professional sports. With the passing of the Curt Flood Act in 1998 this exemption was removed; however, the act may not be as influential as it seems. Court rulings were prominent in initiating and maintaining the antitrust exemption for professional baseball. These include the Supreme Court Trilogy, especially the case of Curt Flood, a baseball player who fought against the reserve clause system which limited his and other players’ employment options. Collective bargaining as well as arbitration became dominant in professional baseball labor relations under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Act. Although the collective bargaining process in Major League Baseball has been contentious, it provided more bargaining power to the players, resulting in the elimination of many unfair labor practices including the reserve system. The Curt Flood Act of 1998, which allows professional Major League Baseball players to file lawsuits under antitrust regulations, served as the final step in equalizing the power between players and owners. Early predictions about the act concluded that it would either help strengthen baseball’s antitrust exemption or harm the collective bargaining process. Other researchers thought that the act would not have much of an effect at all because of its limitations and requirements. But others have noted some positive results, specifically in labor negotiations between players and owners, which point to the act having a genuine influence on Major League Baseball.