Organized baseball

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Organized baseball is an archaic term that collectively describes Major League Baseball (MLB) and its various affiliated minor leagues, under the authority of MLB's Commissioner of Baseball. Historically, these leagues were bound by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), an agreement signed in 1901 that is considered the first to formally establish Minor League Baseball.[1] The agreement included provisions to respect the player reserve lists of clubs in each league.

Organized baseball consisted of the two main "major" leagues, the National League and the American League, and the minor leagues governed by the rules of the NAPBL. Starting in 1947, the term also included several Caribbean winter leagues such as the Cuban League.[2][3] It did not include Negro league baseball, and was racially segregated by the "gentleman's agreement" until 1947.[4] Independent baseball leagues not bound by the agreement were sometimes pejoratively referred to as "outlaw leagues," due to their resistance to outside governance. Within the United States, the most notable major outlaw league was the Federal League of 1914–15, which lured players away from their established clubs with better pay (the first challenge to the "reserve clause" and a foreshadowing of free agency). The league's collapse led to a Supreme Court ruling in 1922 that effectively established an antitrust exemption for MLB and Organized Baseball.[5]

Another notable "outlaw league" was the Mexican League, which rapidly expanded in the years immediately after World War II, bringing it into conflict with organized baseball. Starting in 1946, players who "jumped" their MLB clubs for more lucrative contracts in Mexico were blacklisted for having violated the reserve clause.[6] Faced with a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 1922 ruling, MLB Commissioner Happy Chandler offered amnesty to the jumpers in 1949, thus keeping organized baseball's antitrust exemption intact.[6][7] From then on, the Mexican League peacefully coexisted with organized baseball until 1955, when it was admitted as an affiliated minor league.[2]

Today, the term "organized baseball" is considered outdated, due to its ambiguous meaning and racial overtones; the Society for American Baseball Research instead recommends the term "affiliated baseball".[8]

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  1. ^ "How Minor League Baseball Teams Work: History of the Minors". April 2000. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Monopsony in Manpower: Organized Baseball Meets the Antitrust Laws" (PDF). The Yale Law Journal: 583.
  3. ^ Echevarria, Roberto González (1999). The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball. Oxford University Press. pp. 44–47. doi:10.1093/oso/9780195069914.003.0007.
  4. ^ "Early Years". Jackie Robinson Educational Archives: University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Retrieved 28 March 2024. The baseball world that the young Jackie Robinson knew consisted of "Organized Baseball," a whites-only system of the eight-team National and American Leagues plus hundreds of minor-league teams; and the "Negro Leagues," which developed after 1900 as an alternative to the segregated white game.
  5. ^ "Anatomy of a Murder: The Federal League and the Courts". SABR. Society for American Baseball Research.
  6. ^ a b Bill Young (2017). "From Mexico to Quebec: Baseball's Forgotten Giants". SABR. Society for American Baseball Research.
  7. ^ "Gardella v. Chandler". Justia. July 13, 1948.
  8. ^ "SABR Style Guide". SABR. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 28 March 2024.

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