Retro Report: Curt Flood, rebel without a clause

From on October 6, 2014:

When baseball star Curt Flood rejected a trade in 1969, he challenged America’s pastime and helped spark a revolution that rippled beyond the game.

On the morning of October 8, 1969, just days after the end of a disappointing season for the St. Louis Cardinals, the phone rang at the home of baseball star Curt Flood.

The voice on the line told Flood he had been traded to Philadelphia, but the veteran center fielder didn’t want to go. Baseball players had long had no control over where they played, thanks to a court-protected “reserve clause” that allowed team owners to perpetually renew their contracts, and Flood wanted control over his life.

What ensued was a fight that put the power dynamics of America’s pastime on trial, both in the court of law and of public opinion, and helped spark a movement that forever changed professional sports.

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Originally published: October 6, 2014. Last Updated: October 6, 2014.