Mitchell Hamline adjunct professor and Florida judge Lou Schiff ’80 has combined his love for the law and baseball into a new legal textbook.
Schiff and Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have co-authored “Baseball and the Law”, published by Carolina Academic Press.
The book grew out of a summer course Schiff began teaching in 2013 at Hamline Law, one of Mitchell Hamline’s predecessor schools.
The textbook isn’t just a recitation of court proceedings. It also mixes in baseball history and pop references to the national pastime.
“We go from baseball law to baseball lore, and we try to interweave it,” Schiff said.
“Baseball and the Law” is targeted at law professors who teach sports law courses or who want to teach specifically on baseball law. Schiff thinks it’s also a great tool for sportswriters and for law students considering a career in sports law.
“In the United States, there are approximately 300 professional baseball teams,” Schiff said. “Every one of them needs a lawyer.”
Schiff’s textbook covers a lot of territory, from cases of racial discrimination to lawsuits over injuries, salaries, stadium construction, and patent infringement.
Among the interesting cases covered in “Baseball and the Law”:
- Mahn v. Harwood – 1878 Supreme Court case over the patentability of a “base-ball”.
- Pittsfield Mass. “Baseball Bylaw” – 1791 law banning the playing of “Wicket, Cricket, Baseball, Batball, Football, Cat, Fives or any other Game or Games with Balls” within 80 yards of the town’s meeting house, to prevent windows from being broken.
- Coomer v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation – John Coomer claims he suffered injury after being hit in the eye by a hotdog thrown by Sluggerrr, the Royals’ mascot. A court ruled getting hit by a hotdog was one of the “inherent risks” of attending a game.
Schiff will use the new textbook when he teaches “Law and the Business of Baseball” this summer, July 16 and 17. The course will explore the relationship between baseball and the law over the last 200 years. The first day of the class will meet at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul—the home of the St. Paul Saints and Hamline University Pipers baseball teams.
“Congratulations to Judge Schiff on combining two of the nation’s greatest pursuits—baseball and law–in one book,” said Mitchell Hamline President and Dean Mark Gordon. “Offering our students an opportunity to delve into the growing field of sports law while also examining broader trends in American law through the prism of baseball should be a real home run,” he said.