Former Major Leaguers Fail to Reach First Base

Article excerpt

Seymour (Cy) Block played in 17 games for the Chicago Cubs from 1942 to 1946, plus one game in the 1945 World Series. For his career, he batted .302 and struck out three times. Make that four, courtesy of the California Court of Appeal, First District.

In Block v. Major League Baseball, 76 Cal.Rptr.2d 567 (1998), Block and four other major league baseball players who played before 1947 filed a class action in a California state court against Major League Baseball and three other licensing and distribution agencies alleging violations of their statutory and common law rights of publicity by using the "names, voices, signatures, photographs and/or likenesses" on products such as "books, films, trading cards, collector merchandise, memorabilia and apparel" without their consent or compensation. In 1947, the standard major league player contract was revised so that representations of players' likenesses belong to the employing baseball clubs for their use.

After discovery, the plaintiffs moved for class certification, proposing a class of about 800, consisting of "all major league baseball players who played major league baseball before 1947, or, if they are now deceased, their heirs or beneficiaries. …