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On the Shelf: Congressional Hearings

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Surprise! Another baseball-related post from Betty.

This one is not entirely my fault.

Photo by Betty Lupinacci

A would-be anonymous colleague brought the pictured item to me, having received it from the general collection.

Why would the general (non-law) collection have congressional hearings, you may ask?

Well, up until the 1960s when the Class K schedule was completed, congressional hearings were classified according to their subject matter, and not necessarily as Law.

This one, for example, was classed under “Baseball: economic aspects” (now “Sports: Financial and business aspects”).

There were tremendous efforts on the part of both Law and general collections staff to comb the stacks for thousands of these pre-1960s hearings so that they could all be repatriated into Law. But, once in a blue moon, someone in the general collection still finds one we missed.

When found, transferred items have to have their bibliographic records updated, changing the call numbers to wherever they fall in the post-1960s hearings schedule or adding legal subject headings, etc.

Hearings are now all classed by chamber of Congress, committee (and sub-committee, if applicable), year and then “number” of the hearing held within that year (designated though, by a letter).  Which to my mind makes it rather easy to “construct” a call number for a particular hearing we may have trouble locating in the collection.

For example, the call number for the item above (KF 26 .I5595 1953) breaks down as follows:


And so it came to be that my unnamed colleague received this gem to be added to the Law collection.

(Now for the baseball part.)

What piqued my interest, in addition to statements from various sports notables such as Branch Rickey, Joe Cronin, George P. Marshall and Calvin (nephew of Clark) Griffith, was the enclosed line chart.

Photos by Betty Lupinacci



This chart compares the net profit of the entirety of Major League Baseball (Line 1) with the total salaries of all Major League players (Line 2) and the total salaries and bonuses paid to stockholders (Line 3) from the three Exhibits found on page 190 of the document.

As you can see, I’ve marked the chart to highlight the information from Exhibit IX which lists the total salaries paid to all players in 1950 as $5,890,000.  That total is a little less than 1/5th of Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer’s average annual salary over his 7-year contract.

Moral of the story?  Well, first and foremost, hearings can be fun.  And second, we’re all in the wrong business!

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