Hearings before the Subcommittee on Monopoly Power,
Committee on the Judiciary,
H of R,
1st Sess. Part 6. Serial No. 1.
Various dates in July, August and October, 1951.
Representative Celler: Your own opinion on the reserve clause.
Mr. Cobb (Ty Cobb, retired from Detroit): I think, as many other ballplayers– I should not say that, I guess, because it is only from what I read. I think that has to be some form, and what it is I could not say… Now, getting back– if all the strong clubs or the richest men could hire away from the weaker clubs, then you would have an unwieldy league. Only one team can win and only about three or four clubs can be in the running and attract the crowds… There has to be something to protect the different teams of the league against each other.
The Chairman: Do you feel the reserve clause does that?
Mr. Cobb: Yes, sir; it has done so for quite some years.
The Chairman: Do you feel that there should be some limitation of the reserve clause as to the duration of time?
Mr. Widmar (Minor League Pitcher in the St. Louis Browns expansion draft): No. I believe it is pretty well set up the way it is now. Even after 5 years, if you can go elsewhere, I believe you would still wind up so that the club with the most money at the end of 5 years would still be picking the best ballplayers. And therefore, you would only be running into more difficulty. But I think the present set-up with maybe a few modifications could be the best bet yet.
Written response to the following question by Ned Garver (Pitcher, St. Louis Browns).
Question: What are your views on the reserve clause?
Mr. Garver: My opinion of the reserve clause is this: I do not think baseball could exist as we know it now, without it. To eliminate the reserve clause would throw all the players on the free market and the owner willing to pay the most money would most surely end up with the best ball club.
Fred Hutchinson (Pitcher, Detroit Tigers and AL players representative) --Reading from his written remarks: ... I would like to say first that in my opinion the reserve clause is a necessary and reasonable provision for the preservation of organized baseball... In my opinion the players as a rule have been treated fairly by the clubs and have generally been paid in accordance with their value to the clubs.
Mr. Lane: As the players’ representative, in handling all their grievances and complaints and being in constant touch with them day in and day out, do you feel, in your own mind, that the players wish to retain the reserve clause, as a whole.
Mr. Hutchinson: Yes, sir.
Pee Wee Reese
Mr. Goldstein (general counsel to the subcommittee): I would like to have your views on the reserve clause in general... Do you think that it is necessary for baseball?
Mr. Reese (Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop): Without the reserve clause, I do not think that baseball could operate. I would not want to say anything against baseball, because baseball has been wonderful to me, and without the reserve clause I do not think that I would have been able to play baseball.
Mr. Stevens (associate counsel to the subcommittee): Do most of the players feel the same way, as far as you know?
Mr. Reese: Yes, sir. I think that Ralph Kiner has made some kind of survey of all the players' representatives in the National League, and all of the players, or the player representatives, said that the whole league felt the same way, that there had to be a reserve clause... But if it were not like that, I think that the clubs that had the most money would end up with the better ballplayers. Of course, maybe they do now, anyway.
Mr. Lane (Subcommittee Member): Mr. Reese, do you know of any ballplayers that are opposed to the reserve clause?
Mr. Reese: No, sir; I do not.
Mr. Goldstein: Do you feel the reserve clause is necessary?
Mr. Boudreau: The reserve clause is a “must” in my opinion in organized baseball.
Mr. Goldstein: You need to have it?
Mr. Boudreau: Yes, sir.
Mr. Stevens: Mr. Boudreau, in addition to your opinion on the reserve clause, do you feel players generally share the opinion that it is a “must” in baseball?
Mr. Boudreau: Yes, sir.