reserve clause


: a clause formerly placed in a professional athlete's contract that reserved for the club the exclusive right automatically to renew the contract and that bound the athlete to the club until retirement or until the athlete was traded or released

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But Flood, in a challenge to baseball’s reserve clause, refused to report to the Phillies, and the Cardinals sent Browning and Willie Montanez to Philadelphia in his place while Flood filed a lawsuit against Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn. Mark Inabinett |, al, 18 July 2022 When the reserve clause was removed from players’ contracts across various sports leagues which gave rise to free agency (nod to Marvin Miller and Curt Flood here), players’ salaries exploded. Patrick Rishe, Forbes, 9 June 2022 The upstart league resulted from a bitter and unsuccessful struggle against professional baseball’s reserve clause, which would bind a player to a team for life. Ron Grossman,, 7 Apr. 2022 Miller ended the reserve clause and brought the owners to their knees in winning the right to free agency through the courts. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 4 Dec. 2021 At a party one night in 1969, Mr. Reich met the Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis at a time when baseball’s longstanding reserve clause bound players to their teams until they were traded, sold or released. New York Times, 5 July 2021 But Justice Harry Blackmun, in an at times insipidly nostalgic 1972 opinion, reinforced MLB’s antitrust exemption but left an opening that the reserve clause could be resolved through collective bargaining. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2021 The first was George Earl Toolson, a pitcher for the Newark Bears, the Class AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, who sought escape from the reserve clause and the ironclad system that binded him to the Yankees. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2021 The reserve clause ended, free agency began and the players’ union found its voice, setting the table for the high salaries of today. The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Feb. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reserve clause.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reserve clause was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near reserve clause

Cite this Entry

“Reserve clause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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