Wyatt: The unappreciated Curt Flood

From Daniel Wyatt at The National Pastime Museum on June 26, 2014:

For decades, baseball’s Reserve Clause bound a player to a team unless he was traded, sold, or released. A player had zero bargaining power at contract time other than refusing the owner’s terms, forcing him to quit baseball.

The “status quo” of the Reserve Clause received its first litmus test following a trade on October 7, 1969, in which St. Louis Cardinals star outfielder Curt Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Tim McCarver, Joe Hoerner, and Byron Browne for Richie Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Jerry Johnson.

Born in Houston, Texas, in 1938, and raised in Oakland, California, Curt Flood attended West Oakland’s McClymonds High School, playing in the same outfield as fellow African-Americans Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson. All three were gobbled up by the Cincinnati Reds for $4,000 each. The Reds kept Pinson and Robinson but let Flood go to the Cardinals in December 1957 as part of a five-player deal. In St. Louis, the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Flood excelled in center field by winning seven straight Gold Gloves from 1963 to 1969. He also hit .300 on six occasions and contributed to three National League pennants and two World Championships. “I gave a hundred percent all the time,” Flood said years later.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/unappreciated-curt-flood

Originally published: June 26, 2014. Last Updated: June 26, 2014.