Saylor: How Napoleon Lajoie made baseball and legal history

From Richard Saylor at the Pennsylvania State Archives on March 22, 2016:

Several of the most important legal documents in the early history of Major League Baseball trace their origins to a protracted legal battle resulting from Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie jumping his contract with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies to play for the upstart American League Philadelphia Athletics. This move gave the A’s instant credibility as a major league team, and helped foster animosity between the two leagues. The Lajoie case remains relevant in sports law today.

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds a number of documents related to this case. The image shown is of Napoleon Lajoie’s Appeal of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision to grant an injunction to prohibit him from playing baseball with any team other the Philadelphia Phillies. It contains Lajoie’s authentic signature. The Archives also holds the State Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the decree of Common Pleas Court No. 5 by granting an injunction in the case of Philadelphia Ball Club (Phillies) vs. Napoleon Lajoie and a Judgment of Non Pros entered by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania which effectively discontinued the injunction against Lajoie playing baseball for teams other than the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Originally published: March 23, 2016. Last Updated: March 23, 2016.