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Re: monopoly definition

On 15 Oct 2002 at 14:05, Sean Smyth wrote:

> Baseball was granted its anti-trust exemption in the 1920s after the Black
> Sox scandal. Judge Landis, the commissioner, wanted the exemption and
> argued that baseball was first and foremost sport, not business. 

I am also going by memory, but I believe that MLB was not granted its exemption by 
Congress, but by a ruling of the Supreme Court, in response to an anti-trust case brought 
against them.

> And you are right; at one time a good deal of cities (Boston, New York,
> Chicago, Cleveland even) possessed American League and National League
> teams. This, of course, was before the days of MLB.

No it was not.  MLB was formed during the first decade of the 20th century.  Boston, New 
York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis (Not Cleveland) had two baseball teams (and New 
York had three) into the 1950s.  And since then, New York again has two teams, and the LA 
and San Francisco metropolitan areas each have two teams.

Actually, monopolistic practices in baseball are an old story.  In the 19th Century, the 
National League was a monopoly cartel, and there often were two or more teams owned by 
the same owners, who tended to use some major-league teams farm teams for others which 
they owned.  The league put a tight lid on players' salaries, ticket prices, etc.  Unfortunately, 
like radio in our time, baseball got very dull, and the fans started staying away in droves.

Enter the American Association, in the 1880s.  By giving the National League competition, 
they forced higher players salaries, lower ticket prices, and a post-season forerunner of 
today's "World Series" and made the game interesting again.  This lasted until 1892, when 
the two leagues were merged.  It was more of a takeover than a merger; the National League 
became the National League and American Association and admitted four American 
Association teams.  That lasted only until 1899, when the league dropped American 
Association from its name and dropped several teams, including three of the former AA 
teams (Trivia point:  The St. Louis Cardinals are the sole surviving team from the American 

The National League owners must have thought they had reached paradise.  They depressed 
players' salaries again and had the game under control again.  The league was down to eight 
teams, and those same eight teams, in the same eight cities, were the National League until 
the Braves left Boston in 1953.

Enter Ban Johnson.  He got control of a minor league called the Westerb League and, in 
1900 changed its name to the American League, denying he was trying to start a new major 
league.  In 1901, he struck, moving teams into cities in competition with National League 
teams, raided the National League for players by offering higher salaries, and declared that 
the AL was now a major league.  The two leagues fought for a couple of years until the NL 
finally threw in the towel, and MLB was formed.  The American League, incidentally, also 
settled down to the same eight teams in the same eight cities for about 50 years.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
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