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Where Baseball Lore And Baseball Law Intersect

Publication Date: 
December 23, 2011
Daily Journal

Professor William B. Gould is mentioned in the following Daily Journal article that discusses the merits of his book "Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relations in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil."

Already, the Los Angeles Angels and their fans are beginning to dream of a pennant as they celebrate the multi-year agreements recently reached with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson guaranteeing the two superstars more than $331 million dollars. However, few, if any fans can recall a time in major league baseball when star players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were forced to accept pay cuts or when Joe DiMaggio agreed to a pay freeze with the New York Yankees after hitting .322.

In fact, pay cuts and wage freezes were a large part of baseball lore during the first half of the 20th century. Players lived and worked in an era without a collective bargaining agreement, player agents or guaranteed multi-year contracts. Most players from this era did not spend their off-seasons working out to prepare for the upcoming season, but rather were forced to find part-time off season employment to help support their families.

These baseball realities and many other fascinating anecdotes from America's pastime are detailed in Professor William Gould's new book, "Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relations in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil." Gould, an iconic figure in baseball labor law history, has combined his work as a Stanford University law professor, a lifelong devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox, and a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board to present his unmatched perspective on the past, present and future of major league baseball.


Gould describes the ever increasing influence of the union from the time it completed its first collective bargaining agreement with the owners in 1966 through the players successful 13 day strike to increase pension benefits in 1972. He adds that the continued erosion of the owners formally unbridled strength was seen in the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement in 1973 that contained a "10 and 5 rule," which gave certain veteran players the right to block trades to other teams if they had more than 10 years of major league experience and the last five years were played with the same team. The new agreement also provided a large group of players the opportunity to have the salaries determined through a process of salary arbitration. Ironically, these specific player arbitration rights that were established nearly four decades ago still exist and were expanded last month in the recently completed collective bargaining negotiations.


Gould shares his true love of the sport through personal anecdotes of a childhood growing up in New Jersey rooting for his beloved Red Sox as effortlessly as he describes the legal interpretations of cases and negotiations that have forever changed the innocence of the great American pastime. Gould's work is a great success and a must read for any fan of major league baseball.