In Connecticut, the loyalties between the Red Sox and Yankees are about evenly split. So, for now, it’s baseball nirvana here in the state. If both win their divisional series, there will be many late nights here in Connecticut watching a Yankees-Red Sox matchup.
In honor of the baseball playoffs beginning this week, I thought I would pass along some materials regarding the employment contracts of some baseball players. And where would I turn for such information?
It turns out the Baseball Hall of Fame has a whole website discussing the Labor History of Baseball. Its a fascinating site that outlines a whole educational program that high schools or colleges can run about baseball’s labor history, complete with profiles and source documents. I’m certain that if my school had such a course, I would’ve been the first to sign up. (Ithaca College — near the Hall of Fame — has run such a course over the years.)
Hidden on that site are some nuggets: the actual employment contracts of some baseball players. Given my love of the Yankees, I thought I would post a few: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and portions of Derek Jeter’s.
As you will see, these are not your "standard" employment contracts. After all, how many contracts do you know that have a limitation on the athlete playing impromptu billiards or darts?
Of course, the labor history of baseball is much more than just about the contracts. Cases such as the Curt Flood litigation regarding free agency have set precedent for employment of athletes in all of sports. And there are even arbitration procedures for companies set up to follow "baseball arbitration" or "night baseball arbitration".
As you watch the playoff games this month, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s website is nice compliment to that experience. And you can thank baseball for its involvement in setting precedent in the employment law arena