How Curt Flood inspired today’s Cuban players

Curt Flood was a pretty good baseball player.  He was born on this day in 1938, a career .293 hitter and an important piece of the St Louis team that won 3 National League pennants in 1964, 1967 and 1968.  Curt’s teammates included Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Orlando Cepeda, Tim McCarver and quite a few others. He died in 1997.

However, he made “labor history” many years ago:

“On June 19, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court rules against Curt Flood in Flood v. Kuhn, denying Flood free agency as a baseball player. Flood was trying to break the reserve clause that had tied baseball players to one franchise since the establishment of professional baseball.”

In other words, he was denied an opportunity to become a free agent and negotiate with several teams. Eventually, the players’ union won the “free agency” fight in 1976 after 2 work stoppages and several court appeals.  The net result is that “Free agency” changed the game and blew up the owners’ monopoly.  Flood never got to make the big bucks, but he had a lot to do with the benefits that the players enjoy today.  He was the one who challenged the system and took a bullet for the union.

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