On February 4, 1976, Federal judge John W. Oliver of the United States district court for Western Missouri upholds a recent decision by arbitrator Peter Seitz, who had granted free agency to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally.

Both players had challenged baseball’s reserve clause. By not signing their contracts, contending they are now free to sign with another team for next season, negating the owners’ belief that the one-year contracts are perpetually renewed without a player’s consent. Messersmith will sign a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves, while McNally will decide to retire.



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