Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Ronald P. Wargo


This note explores a less glamorous aspect of baseball's "golden" past: the sport's forgotten and financially neglected players. Due to the structure of Major League Baseball's retirement compensation system, a certain group of former players--some of whom were stars in their day--were entitled to no retirement benefits at all from the sports which they helped make great. Focusing on an action brought by one of these former players against Major League Baseball (MLB), the note explores both the statutory and common law right of publicity claims that these ex-players may have against MLB for the uncompensated exploitation of the players' celebrity. Concluding that a successful right of publicity action by these players against MLB would be difficult, the author nonetheless urges MLB to come to a reasonable settlement with these retired and financially needy men in recognition of their contribution to baseball's modern day wealth and popularity.