Judge Irving Ben Cooper, who upheld organized baseball's exemption from antitrust laws, has died at age 94.
Judge Cooper, who granted Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis relief from a relentless photographer in another celebrated case, died Tuesday at his home in Manhattan.
A federal judge for 32 years, he presided over the 1972 lawsuit brought by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood challenging his trade to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Flood sought to undermine baseball's reserve clause that tied a player to one team for life unless it traded or released him. He argued that baseball engaged in interstate commerce and should lose the antitrust exemption granted it by the Supreme Court in 1922.
Judge Cooper didn't rule on the merits of baseball's operation but upheld the antitrust exemption on grounds that earlier Supreme Court rulings could not be challenged at a lower level.
Baseball has since modified its reserve clause but retains its antitrust exemption.
In a highly publicized case, Judge Cooper ruled in 1975 that prominent celebrity photographer Ronald E. Galella had "relentlessly invaded" the privacy of Mrs. Onassis and had interfered with the Secret Service agents assigned to protect the former first lady when he dogged her and her family for months.
Ruling that the First Amendment did not give the press unrestricted rights, he issued a permanent injunction forbidding Galella from coming within 50 yards of Mrs. Onassis or her children.