It may be the most famous law student note of all time. The legendary 1975 University of Pennsylvania Law Review note, "The Common Law Origins Of The Infield Fly Rule," has sudden relevance in the wake of the raucous reaction to the invocation of the infield fly rule in the St. Louis Cardinals' 6-3 wild card win over the Atlanta Braves. The article by William S. Stevens was so powerful that it inspired another law review article in tribute, "Taking Pop-Ups Seriously: The Jurisprudence of the Infield Fly Rule," (sub. req.), which lauds the article's attributes in contrast to ordinary legal scholarship:
This piece of legal scholarship was remarkable in numerous ways. First, it was published anonymously and the author’s identity was not known publicly for decades. Second, it was genuinely funny, perhaps one of the funniest pieces of true scholarship in a field dominated mostly by turgid prose and ineffective attempts at humor by way of cutesy titles or bad puns. Third, it was short and to the point in a field in which a reader new to law reviews would assume that authors are paid by the word or footnote. Fourth, the article was learned and actually about something – how baseball’s infield fly rule is consistent with, and an example of, the common law processes of rule creation and legal reasoning in the Anglo-American tradition.
The 2008 New York Times obituary of Mr. Stevens also paid tribute to the note.