Major League Baseball Faces Republican Wrath

William S. Bike
2 min readApr 23, 2021
The Chicago Cubs take batting practice in 1969, the year before Curt Flood challenged Major League Baseball’s Anti-Trust exemption. Three Republican Senators want to challenge it again. (Photo by William S. Bike)

By William S. Bike

After Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game from Atlanta, Georgia, because the state passed restrictions on voting, Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee drafted legislation to end MLB’s anti-trust exemption.

Why does MLB have such an exemption, anyway?

Major League Baseball received its anti-trust exemption from a 1922 Supreme Court ruling that said MLB’s operations did not constitute “interstate commerce,” making it exempt from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which prevents combinations in restraint of trade. Since then, MLB’s anti-trust exemption has faced a major challenge only once.

After the 1969 season, St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Curt Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He didn’t want to go, so he sued to eliminate baseball’s reserve clause, which bound a player to a team and/or a contract and did not allow him to negotiate with another team, as a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The case, Flood vs. Kuhn (Bowie Kuhn was MLB’s commissioner) made it to the Supreme Court.

The court in 1972 ruled against Flood and upheld MLB’s antitrust exemption, but admitted in the decision that the original grounds for the exemption were questionable, that MLB’s operations actually were interstate commerce…



William S. Bike

Author of "Winning Political Campaigns," a how-to book on all aspects of political campaigning, and commentator on history and baseball.