Patrick Stephen presents Major League Baseball and World War II: Protecting the Monopoly by Selling Baseball as Patriotic
In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt penned a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, giving MLB permission to operate throughout World War II. The letter, which became known as "The Green Light Letter," was a relief to team owners as baseball became the only major sport to survive during the war. Owners uniquely positioned themselves to benefit from the bond between baseball and the American people. MLB portrayed itself as a patriotic partner of the war effort, providing entertainment for the factory workers who helped win the war and equipment to servicemembers overseas. In turn, it also remained a monopoly without Congressional inquiries or any public challenges. Its exemption from anti-trust laws only strengthened MLB's position in the postwar world.
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