Friday, April 10, 2015

Baseball Season and Moneyball

Perhaps the best way to nurse the sorrow of a failed NCAA bracket is to embrace the start of baseball season. For a legal angle on the sport, take a look at one of our books on baseball law or on what it means to be a sports agent:
And for fun, take a look at Malcolm Gladwell's 2010 article Talent Grab: Why Do We Pay Our Stars So Much Money? Some interesting data from the article (with meaning for baseball players and lawyers alike):
In baseball, between the mid-nineteen-forties and the mid-nineteen-sixties, the game’s minimum and highest salaries both fell by more than a third, in constant dollars. In 1935, lawyers in the United States made, on average, four times the country’s per-capita income. By 1958, that number was 2.4.

"Stars", "titans of industry," and the like were not top earners. "The truly rich in the nineteen-fifties and sixties were people who had inherited money—the heirs of the great fortunes of the Gilded Age. Entrepreneurs who sold their own businesses could also become wealthy, because capital-gains taxes were relatively low. But the marketplace chose not to pay salaried professionals and managers a lot of money, and society chose not to let them keep much of what they made."
In 1956, Roswell Magill, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, spoke for a generation of professionals when he wrote that law firms “can no longer honestly assure promising young men that if they become partners they can save money in substantial amounts, build country homes and gardens for themselves like their fathers and grandfathers did, and plan extensive European holidays.”
And then things changed.