October 07, 2020
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) joined U.S. Representatives Ann Wagner (Mo.), Wm. Lacy Clay (Mo.), and David Trone (Md.) in renewing their call for All-Star baseball player Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
On this day in 1969, Curt Flood was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. This sparked Flood’s courageous lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB) challenging the reserve system and helping to create free agency within the MLB. The move jeopardized his own career and transformed professional sports as we know it.
In February, the lawmakers held a press conference and sent a letter to the Chair of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame urging the induction of Curt Flood. The letter garnered over 100 signatures. Blunt also highlighted their effort in remarks on the Senate floor.
“Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is an honor long overdue,” said Blunt. “He had an outstanding career on the field, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series championships and earning seven consecutive Gold Gloves. Off the field, he cemented his legacy with the courageous stand he took 51 years ago today, paving the way for free agency. As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I’m proud to once again join my congressional colleagues in supporting Curt Flood’s induction into the Hall of Fame. His letter is in the Hall of Fame and he should be there too.”
“Curt Flood’s legacy will resonate throughout the MLB, St. Louis, and America for decades to come,” said Wagner. “He changed the game of baseball forever, and I am proud of all he did for Cardinal Nation. It is my hope the Golden Era Committee sees fit to induct this great American into the Hall of Fame and honor his legacy in perpetuity.”
“Curt Flood’s courage struck a giant blow for freedom; when he stood up to the Reserve Clause and demanded to be treated like a man, instead of a piece of property,” said Clay. “He was a symbol of determination and uncompromising dignity who stood up against injustice and changed the game forever. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”
“It’s about time we honor Curt Flood as the great American civil rights and labor hero that he is,” said Trone. “In sacrificing his own career, Flood left a lasting legacy that impacts professional sports to this very day. It’s time to right this wrong and deliver Flood the honor he deserves.”
“Curt Flood stood up on behalf of all professional athletes in team sports when he declined to accept being traded to a different organization in a different city in 1969 and instead began his court challenge to baseball’s reserve clause,” said Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark. “He was the first athlete to declare that he was not a piece of property to be bought, bartered or sold, and his fight for the freedom to choose where he lived and worked was one that would eventually bring about the age of free agency in professional sports.”