Sports, United States

Curt Flood

One single man changed that game of baseball forever. It was all because he didn’t accept a trade to another team. If you like baseball, you should know that if it weren’t for Curt Flood the game would be completely different for you as a spectator and for the players on the field. Curt Flood’s career, his fight for free agency, and the civil rights acts put into place because of him are what make him great..

Flood was born in Houston, Texas, and then raised in Oakland, California. Flood played in the same outfield in West Oakland McClymonds High School as Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson. Flood signed with the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956 and played with them for the next two years until he was traded to the Cardinals. Flood played with the Cardinals for 12 seasons and played extraordinarily well. Flood had many achievements in his career like “he played 15 years from 1956 to 1971. He batted .293, was a three-time All-Star, and, playing centerfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, won Gold Glove seven consecutive seasons, from 1963-1969. He was on three pennant-winning teams with the Cardinals and earned two World Series rings” (Barra). Flood was a great ball player and was really great on the field, but it is off the field that had the most effect.

Flood didn’t agree with some of the rules behind the game of baseball, so he stood up for himself and others with the same mindset. He believed that Major League Baseball’s decades-old reserve clause was unfair in that it kept players beholden for life to the team with which they originally signed, even when they had satisfied the terms and conditions of those contracts. He wanted what we would call today free agency. If you as a player have this than you can sign with any club or franchise. “‘I do not regard myself as a piece of property to be bought or sold,’ he famously told Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn in a letter in which he requested the right to be a free agent” (Barra). Curt just wanted to be free to make his own decision if he wanted to stay with a team or not.

Even after Curt was done playing baseball, he still was influencing the game. “Flood’s legacy was acknowledged in Congress in 1997 via the Baseball Fans and Communities Protection Act of 1997” (Wikipedia). The legislation created federal antitrust law protection for major league baseball players to the same extent as provided for other professional athletes. By the time all of these law and acts were put into play, athletes were truly free to make their own decisions.  

Curt Floods career and his decisions had a huge impact on the world. The way he stood up for himself and all athletes is very admirable. We need to recognize Curt Flood for what he did and I know that a national holiday was created for MLK. Flood definitely isn’t on MLK’s level of making change in the world but he deserves something. The schools should mention him when talking about civil rights activists or maybe the MLB should retire his number. Brave people like Curt flood deserve recognition.

Article by Jackson Slaughter & Video by Kashtin Holly

Work cited

Barra, Allen. “How Curt Flood Changed Baseball and Killed His Career in the

    Process.”, 12 July 2011,



    Accessed 25 Apr. 2018.


Curt Flood Quote.,

    Accessed 25 Apr. 2018.


“Curt Flood.”, Wikimedia Foundation,

    Curt_Flood. Accessed 25 Apr. 2018.


Getty. The Christmas Eve When Curt Flood Changed Baseball Forever., 23 Dec. 2017,

    the-christmas-eve-when-curt-flood-changed-baseball-forever. Accessed 25

    Apr. 2018.

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