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Reviewed by:
  • Baseball Meets the Law by Ed Edmonds, Frank G. Houdek
  • Rob Hudson
Edmonds, Ed, and Frank G. Houdek. Baseball Meets the Law. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2017. Pp. 319. Appendix, notes, bibliography, and index. $39.95, pb.

Baseball Meets the Law is a reference work by two distinguished law librarians, Ed Edmonds and Frank Houdek. Edmonds is emeritus professor at the Notre Dame Law School and retired law library director. Coauthor Houdek is also an emeritus professor, from the Southern Illinois University School of Law and retired law library director. The combined strength of the coauthors in legal bibliography and sources is the real treat of Baseball Meets the Law. [End Page 368]

The book follows a chronology of baseball’s legal history, followed by more than one hundred pages of appendices, a directory, ample notes, bibliography, and index. The seven chapters are organized on a commissioner or an era that makes access logical. Baseball Meets the Law is a powerful review of the subject area with a strong inclusion of scholarly sources, excellent endnotes, bibliography, and analysis of historical primary materials from the early 1790s to 2015. As a researcher, this book is everything I would hope for in historical scholarship.

Some themes developed expertly in this book include the development of baseball and the intellectual property, economics, contract, tort, corruption, crime, labor, and employment law issues of baseball. The authors wisely limit the scope of the coverage to four hundred individual anecdotal accounts to make a manageable text. Famous legal concepts like the “baseball rule” are expertly discussed. Infamous scandals like the “Black Sox” receive a prominent place as warranted by the subject. There is much more to this book; a directory of lawyers practicing in baseball law is an example.

Minor criticisms include a table of contents that is hard to understand with its small font and a wish for more narrative or editorial content by these two fans of the game.

This is an ambitious work of love by the authors and a great addition to sport-law collections and lawyers. The many docent fans of baseball will also enjoy this volume.

Rob Hudson
Upper Iowa University


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pp. 368-369
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