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Legal Milestone List

  The Great Ferris Fire
  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elloitt-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial


2. Baseball's Reserve Clause

A 1914 decision in a Grand Rapids courtroom "bound a player to his team for as long as the team chose to keep him." Dedicated and placed at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 1986. Rededicated and placed outside on June 20, 1996, at Old Kent Park (West Michigan Whitecaps Minor League Baseball stadium), Grand Rapids.

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Complete Text on Milestone Marker

Baseball's Reserve Clause

Organized baseball's player contract "reserve clause" was upheld in a federal court case decided in Grand Rapids in 1914. The reserve clause bound a player to his team for as long as the team chose to keep him. He could not play anywhere else unless traded or released. The object was to keep the wealthiest teams from signing all the best players, which it was feared would destroy America's "national game."

William F. Killifer of Paw Paw, star catcher for the Philadelphia Nationals, signed a new contract with the Chicago Federals. When he changed his mind, the Federals sued to force him to play for them. They lost. The court ruled that the reserve clause in Killifer's old contract giving the Nationals first call on his services was legal and binding. The reserve clause was enforced for another 50 years.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan with the Grand Rapids Bar Association at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 1986. Rededicated at Old Kent Park, 1996.

   
 

 

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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
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