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US: 2013’s first pitch marks centennial of baseball’s first antitrust debacle

 |  April 2, 2013

The baseball season has officially begun, but this time of year also marks another anniversary. It’s been 100 years since baseball faced a major antitrust crisis, the result of Detroit Tigers’ player Ty Cobb’s holdout. Just before the 1913 baseball season, Cobb reached a .409 average and earned his sixth consecutive batting title, thus demanding a raise which the team’s owner, Frank Navin, refused to give. Due to the nature of his contract – which banned Cobb from playing for any other team than the Tigers – Cobb quit baseball. Then-Georgia Senator Hoke Smith contacted Cobb suggesting the contractual clause monopolizing players was in violation of the Sherman Act. The event marked the first time a US Senator initiated antitrust action in what was then a frequent complaint by players concerning their contracts. Senator Smith initiated an investigation into the case, resulting in a settlement in which Cobb landed a $12,000 salary.


Full Content: Bloomberg

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