Curt Flood

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Flood in 1957

Curtis Charles Flood (January 18, 1938January 20, 1997) was a Major League Baseball player from 1956 to 1971. He spent the better part of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1958–1969), where he won seven consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1963 to 1969. He became a pivotal figure in sports labor history when, challenging a trade, his unsuccessful appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court (Flood v. Kuhn) helped build solidarity for free agency and against the Reserve clause, which was ultimately struck down in 1975.

Quotes by Flood

  • 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.
    • Letter to Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, December 24, 1969
    • Cited in, Richard D. Carter, Curt Flood (1971). The Way It Is, Trident Press, ISBN 0-671-27076-1.
  • I guess you really have to understand who that person, who that Curt Flood was. I'm a child of the 60s. I'm a man of the 60s. During that period of time, this country was coming apart at the seams. We were in Southeast Asia...Good men were dying for America and for the Constitution. In the Southern part of the United States we were marching for civil rights and Dr. King had been assasinated, and we lost the Kennedys. And to think that merely because I was a professional baseball player, I could ignore what was going on outside the walls of Busch Stadium [was] truly hypocrisy, and now I found that all of those rights that these great Americans were dying for, I didn't have in my own profession.
    • In an interview from Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball [1]
  • I often wondered what I would do if I were ever traded because it happened many, many times, and it was "part of the game." And then suddenly it happened to me. I was leaving probably one of the greatest organizations in the world to at that time what was probably the least liked, and by God, this is America, and I'm a human being. I'm not a piece of property. I'm not a consignment of goods.
    • In an interview from Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball [2]
  • My guys, my colleagues didn't stand up with me. And I can't make any excuse for them. Had we shown any amount of solidarity, if the superstars had stood up and said 'We're with Curt Flood,' if the superstars had walked into the courtroom in New York and made their presence known, I think that the owners would have gotten the message very clearly and given me a chance to win that case.
    • In an interview from Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball [3]

Notes and references

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