This day in baseball: End of the reserve clause

Peter Seitz (Photo source: New York Times)

On December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that Major League ballplayers became free agents after playing for one year for their team without a contract.  Prior to the 1975 season, pitchers Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos had not signed contracts with their respective teams, but rather those contracts had been renewed according to the reserve clause, which, baseball owners argued, perpetually renewed one-year contracts automatically.  Seitz’s ruling now nullified the reserve clause, and Messersmith and McNally became baseball’s first true free agents.


One Comment on “This day in baseball: End of the reserve clause”

  1. […] with the help of Marvin Miller, took on the reserve clause by claiming free agency.  In the end, the reserve clause was abolished and players were now eligible for free agency after six years.  This, as we see through today, […]


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