Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Blasphemy! Curt Flood's Suit of Baseball

If the newspaper was typical, it lied that a victory for Flood would mean the collapse of our national pastime. God prophaned! Flag desecrated! Motherhood defiled! Apple pie blasphemed!
--Curt Flood, The Way It Is

On January 16, 1970, Curt Flood shocked the baseball world and America by filing suit against Major League Baseball and its reserve clause. Baseball had faced legal challenges in the past, but never had a player of Flood's caliber attempted to assail the game's sacred clause--which effectively bound a player and his contract to a team for life. The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder had earned three All-Star appearances, seven Gold Gloves, and a pair of World Series championships. Furthermore, Flood earned $90,000 a year yet accused baseball of violating of the 13th amendment, barring slavery and involuntary servitude. With a few exceptions, the public and the media initially reacted to Flood's action in utter disbelief, branding the outfielder an ingrate, a destroyer, even a blasphemer.

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