Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Curt Flood

On October 7, 1969 Curt Flood, Tim McCarver, Byron Browne and Joe Hoerner were traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen and Jerry Johnson. Flood refused to report to the Phillies and ultimately lost a lawsuit against Major League Baseball. Although he lost the lawsuit, it was a strong blow against the reserve clause which would be finally struck down in 1975, which opened baseball players to free agency. Topps produced this card of Flood for the 1970 set in an air brushed cap. I wonder how he felt about that considering the trouble he he took on himself. Curt Flood died on this day, in 1997.

Here is the letter he wrote to Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (from Wikipedia):
December 24, 1969
After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the several States.

It is my desire to play baseball in 1970, and I am capable of playing. I have received a contract offer from the Philadelphia club, but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decision. I, therefore, request that you make known to all Major League clubs my feelings in this matter, and advise them of my availability for the 1970 season.


deal said...

good post. The end of Curt Flood's career is about 5 years before I knew about basebal. STill he is a player that I am glad that I know about. His 1971 Topps card (Senators) is one of my all time favorites - I will have a post up on it one of these days.

Spiff said...

Nice post. Flood is an interesting character in the history of baseball. I am still conflicted as to if his stand helped or hurt baseball.

Dubbs said...

Good post - a little education for a young pup like me, thanks.

I, along w/ Spiff, am not sure though which side of the issue I stand on. Still, a very germane post on this day.

Sooz said...

In high school, I did a huge report on Curt Flood and the free agency market for an economics plans. My teacher was impressed.