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About Mitchell J Nathanson

I received my JD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1991 and BA from Tulane University in 1988.  My scholarship focuses primarily on the intersection of sports, law, and society.  I have written numerous articles examining the interplay between, most notably, baseball and American culture. My article, "The Irrelevance of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption: A Historical Review," won the 2006 McFarland-SABR Award which is presented in recognition of the best historical or biographical baseball articles of the year. My 2008 book, The Fall of the 1977 Phillies: How a Baseball Team’s Collapse Sank a City’s Spirit (McFarland), is a social history of 20th century Philadelphia as told through the relationship between the city and its baseball teams – the Athletics and the Phillies. In 2009 I was the co-producer and writer of "Base Ball: The Philadelphia Game," a documentary "webisode" on the 19th century development of the game within the city that was part of a larger documentary project, "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment," of which I am also a contributing scholar. In addition, I was a scholarly advisor to the 2011 HBO production, "The Curious Case of Curt Flood."  Beyond my responsibilities at Villanova, I’ve lectured at, among other venues, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and since 2011 have been a Guest Professor in the International Sports Law Program at the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia in Madrid, Spain. In 2012 I published, A People’s History of Baseball (University of Illinois Press), and in 2015 co-authored the textbook: Understanding Baseball (McFarland).  In 2013 my article, "Who Exempted Baseball, Anyway?: The Curious Development of the Antitrust Exemption that Never Was," was published in the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and won the 2013 McFarland-SABR award.  My biography of the mercurial slugger Dick Allen, “God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen,” was published in March, 2016 by the University of Pennsylvania Press and was a finalist for the 2017 Seymour Medal, which honors the best baseball biographies of the year.  In 2021 it was included in Esquire magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Baseball Books Ever Written.”  In the years since its publication I’ve spoken frequently on the topics of Dick Allen, race, and Philadelphia.  In 2020, “Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original,” was released in 2020 and was a New York Times Summer Reading selection.  Like God Almighty Hisself, it was a Seymour Medal finalist.  In addition, it was a silver medalist for the 2021 CASEY Award, honoring the best baseball books of the year.  In June 2021 "The Ten-Minute Collapse," about the Phillies' epic "Black Friday" playoff game in 1977, was released. My op-eds have appeared in, among other outlets, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, New York Daily News, and USA Today.  In 2020 I received the Diane E. Ambler ’78 Faculty Scholarship Impact Award, an annual Villanova Law School honor given to recognize faculty whose work has had a significant impact beyond the gates of Villanova. My current work, Under Jackie's Shadow: An Oral History of the Black Minor Leaguers Baseball Left Behind, is scheduled for publication in 2024.


Present Professor of Law; Professor, Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Curriculum Vitae



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Honors and Awards

  • McFarland-SABR Awards: 2006, 2013
  • Finalist: 2017 Seymour Medal (for God Almighty Hisself)
  • 2020 Recipient of the Diane E. Ambler ’78 Faculty Scholarship Impact Award.
  • Finalist: 2021 Seymour Medal (for Bouton)
  • Finalist: 2021 CASEY Award (for Bouton)

Contact Information
(610) 519-6498


Articles (20)

Books (3)

Recent Works (3)