One Man Out: Curt Flood versus Baseball

One Man Out: Curt Flood versus Baseball

by Robert M. Goldman
     
 
When Curt Flood, all-star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, refused to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, he sent shock waves throughout professional baseball that ultimately reached the Supreme Court. Flood challenged the game's reserve-clause system that bound players to teams as if they were property; and while others had previously spoken

Overview

When Curt Flood, all-star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, refused to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, he sent shock waves throughout professional baseball that ultimately reached the Supreme Court. Flood challenged the game's reserve-clause system that bound players to teams as if they were property; and while others had previously spoken out against this arrangement, which had been protected by Congress and the courts for a century, he was the first to pursue his grievance as doggedly or as far. Concise and balanced, and written in a fast-paced narrative, One Man Out takes readers back to the pre-steroid era, when baseball was as much a passion as a pastime-and when race was often still a factor.

About the Author:
Robert M. Goldman is a professor of history in Richmond, Virginia, and an avid baseball fan

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Throughout much of Major League Baseball's (MLB) history, the team owners "owned" the rights to their players. Players were, in essence, the "property" of team owners. As a result, once a player signed a contract with a team, he was stuck. Because baseball players generally accepted this practice, the idea of players as property was as much a part of baseball as bats, balls, and gloves. This would change with Curt Flood, an All-Star player with the St. Louis Cardinals. On October 8, 1969, Flood was informed by the Cardinal's assistant to the general manager that he had been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with three of his teammates for three Phillies players. Flood refused to be traded. Under contract, his only option was either to play for Philadelphia or retire. Instead, he went to court to sue MLB for treating him like a "well-paid slave." Goldman (Reconstruction and Black Suffrage) provides a nice review of the Flood court case as well as a description of Flood's personal life. A short, albeit comprehensive review of the man and the court case that would eventually lead to significant changes in baseball, including the end of the "reserve clause" and MLB's antitrust exemption; recommended for sports collections.
—Tim Delaney

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700616022
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
08/21/2008
Series:
Landmark Law Cases and American Society Series
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

Robert M. Goldman is a professor of history in Richmond, Virginia, and an avid baseball fan. He is the author of Reconstruction and Black Suffrage and "A Free Ballot and a Fair Court": The Department of Justice and the Enforcement of Voting Rights in the South, 1877-1893.

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