Saturday, September 1, 2012

On The Roster: Curt Flood in the Media

Curt Flood in the Media examines the public discourse surrounding Curt Flood (1938-1997), the star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals throughout the sixties. In 1969, Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. At the time, all Major League Baseball players were subject to the reserve clause, which essentially bound a player to work in perpetuity for his original team, unless traded for another player or sold for cash, in which case he worked under the same reserve conditions for the next team.

Flood refused the trade on a matter of principle, arguing that Major League Baseball had violated both U.S. antitrust laws and the 13th Amendment's prohibition of involuntary servitude. In a defiant letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn asking for his contractual release, Flood infamously wrote, "after twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes."

Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete
by Abraham Iqbal Khan
University Press of Mississippi, 2012