Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, saying Congress will not sit by idly through a second strike-shortened season, said Friday he will introduce a bill on Jan. 4 to repeal baseball's antitrust exemption.

"The major league owners ought not to suppose that Congress will allow another baseball season to be ruined without taking legislative action," Moynihan said Friday, just hours after owners imposed a salary cap on players.The New York Democrat will introduce the National Pastime Protection Act, making it one of the first items of business facing the 104th Congress.

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., called the baseball owners' declaration of an impasse and implementation "a sad and serious negative step for baseball."

Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who will chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his panel may examine the antitrust provision. Players claim incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., told them he may urge repeal.

Since a 1922 Supreme Court decision, baseball has been exempt from antitrust law. The high court affirmed the decision in 1953 and 1972, saying any change was up to Congress.

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A bill to partially remove the exemption was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in September but never reached a vote in either chamber.

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