Date Posted: February 2010
There is an understandable tendency to date the Supreme Court’s involvement with baseball from 1922, when the Court decided Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore v. National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs – the original baseball antitrust exemption case. And there is a corresponding tendency to dwell on William Howard Taft – he was Chief Justice when Federal Baseball was decided – when discussing early baseball fandom on the Court. The first tendency is not only understandable, but also pretty much correct. The Court heard only a few baseball-related cases before 1922, and none was especially weighty from either a legal or a baseball perspective (although each was surely important to the people involved). The second tendency, while also understandable, is not so correct. Taft was a baseball fan, but he was neither the first nor the most fanatical on the Court that decided Federal Baseball, not by a long shot. William R. Day was, and here is why . . .