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1957 - 1958 Celler Hearings (Key Quotes) PDF Print E-mail
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1900 - 1960
Written by Govt. Hearing   
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Hearings before the Antitrust Subcommittee,

Committee on the Judiciary, H of R,

85th Cong.,

1st Sess. 
Part 1, 2, & 3,
Serial No. 8. 
August 1, 7, 8, 1957.


Robin Roberts, Edward Yost, Jerry Coleman

Mr. Coleman.  I have had no complaints administered to as far as the reserve clause. 

Stan Musial

Bob Feller

Chuck Bednarik and Jack Jennings

Red Grange

Mr. Grange:  I don’t think any college baseball player in the United States could play big-league baseball, in the first place.  College football is much better, and I don’t think a college baseball player would be drafted anywhere.

Kyle Rote

Mr. Rote:  The player, when drafted or placed on reserve, sacrifices a fundamental right in the American way of life– that right being his freedom to offer his services to whomever he pleases.  Yet, the player I cognizant of the fact that the NFL would suffer immeasurably should each player have the opportunity to offer his services to each and any club.  The player is aware that pro football is unique in this respect… As far as the player is concerned, there is, at present, no check over the activities of the NFL as relates to the player.  The draft and reserve clause are necessary to the pro game.  But they are not necessary when given free rein and result in abuses of the players’ rights.  A players’ association could serve as this sorely needed check.

Bob Pettit

… In my opinion, the draft clause is for the good of professional basketball inasmuch as it enables the weakest teams each year to have top choice of the eligible college seniors and thus strengthen themselves, and at the same time strengthen the league… In regard to the reserve clause, I do not see how professional basketball would be able to operate on a satisfactory basis without such a clause.  Again, it seems to me that the teams which are strongest financially would, at the end of the specified period, be able to gather the top talent at the expense of the teams which could not afford to pay the higher salaries.

Hearings Before the Subcommittee on antitrust and Monopoly,
Committee on the Judiciary,
U.S. Senate, 85th Cong.,
2nd. Sess. 
July, 1958.

Mickey Mantle

Mr. Mantle:  I don’t know.  I don’t think about his stuff very much. [Laughter.]

Ted Williams

Mr. Williams:  Well, I personally don’t see how baseball could operate without the reserve clause and still maintain the integrity of the game…

Stan Musial (player rep at the time)

Jackie Robinson

Mr Howton:  As we stated, it appears that it is necessary in the livelihood of professional football, in the event the reserve clause were dropped, the teams with the wealth would naturally buy the best ballplayers.  The teams with smaller wealth would obviously fall in rank and eventually die off.  So the stronger teams would dominate the game, and it seems as though it is a strong stabilizer for the game although it puts the players in a bad bargaining position.


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