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Lot # 954 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1970-1972 Curt Flood Legal Documents Regarding His Lawsuit Against Major League Baseball

Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $2,350.00

Collection of legal documents, briefs, and correspondence concerning the historic lawsuit brought by Curt Flood against organized baseball on January 16, 1970, and offering a rare and significant glimpse of the behind-the-scenes communications of the powers representing the interests of Major League Baseball against Flood's efforts. In his landmark suit, Flood challenged baseball's reserve clause by claiming that Major League Baseball should not be exempt from the nation's antitrust laws. The case, first heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was decided in favor of Major League Baseball. Following a failed appeal, the case was finally brought before the Supreme Court, where the Court upheld the lower Court's ruling. Despite losing the case, Flood's suit provided the legal groundwork for the eventual abolition of the reserve clause a few years later. This historical archive, which includes original file copy letters and telegrams from 1970 to 1972, appears to have originated long ago from the files of the San Francisco Giants and is comprised of the following: 1-4) Four letters (either one or two pages) from the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, legal counsel for the defendants, dating from 1970 and 1971. Three of the letters are addressed "To All Major League Clubs," while the other is addressed "To All Counsel For Defendants." One of the letters includes an attachment of the plaintiff's Petition for a Writ of Certiorari that was filed with the Supreme Court on July 6, 1971. Another letter includes copies of two related letters between the attorneys for Flood and Major League Baseball regarding the request of financial documents. 5) A two-page letter, dated August 13, 1970, addressed "To the Members of the Major Leagues and Their Counsel," providing the opinion of United States District Judge Irving Ben Cooper in his ruling for Major League Baseball. The letter was sent by the respective legal counsels for the American and National Leagues. 6) Copy of the April 7, 1971, United States Court of Appeals decision upholding the ruling of the United States District Court in favor of of Major League Baseball. 7) Typed transcript of a telegram from Chub Feeney (National League president) to Horace Stoneham (owner of the Giants) that reads "Natl League - August 12, 1970, Judge Irving Ben Cooper in decision in Flood case today found in effect for Baseball dismissing all causes of action please be conservative in comments expressing satisfaction - Best Regards Chub Feeney." 8) Two-page copy of a Western Union telegram from Bowie Kuhn (baseball commissioner) to Horace Stoneham, dated 10/20/71, that reads "To all Major League club I have made the following official statements concerning the Flood case Quote. The granting of Ertiorari [sic] by the Supreme Court means only that the court has decided to have a full briefing and argument of the issue involved in the Flood case this is a procedural determination which does not affect the merricks [sic] of the case we have complete confidence in the fairness of the court's ultimate decision. Unquote. It is of critical importance that comment on this case or any other pending litigation be confined to official sources and counsel otherwise substantial harm can be done to the position of baseball. It is important and necessary that each club and it's personnel comply with this procedure. Bowie Kuhn." 9) One-page memorandum, on San Francisco Giants stationery, dated February 4, 1971, with accompanying copy of a newspaper article. The memorandum reads: "I spoke with Chub Feeney this morning regarding the status of the Curt Flood suit. Chub told me the Court of Appeals heard the arguments for both sides last week and briefs are being submitted. It will be approximately a month before that court sets forth their decision. Attached is a copy of a news article on this item which appeared in the Chronicle on January 27th." 10) Defendant Appelles brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals. 11) Petitioner's Reply brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States (October Term, 1971). 12) Petitioner's Reply Memorandum filed with the Supreme Court of the United States (October Term, 1971). All of the documents and correspondence remain in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,350.00


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