Congress members lobby for Curt Flood's HOF induction
There is growing support for former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder - and pioneer of free agency - Curt Flood to gain induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Members of Congress sent a letter to the Hall of Fame on Thursday requesting Flood's election this December when the golden era committee next convenes, according to Ben Nuckols of The Associated Press.
After the 1969 season, his 12th as a member of the Cardinals, Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after he asked St. Louis brass for a pay increase. At the time, under the reserve clause, players were fully under their team's control. He refused the trade, and his career in Major League Baseball was effectively over other than 13 games with the Washington Senators in 1971.
He wrote a letter to then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn in December 1969, stating: "I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes."
With the backing of players' union executive director Marvin Miller, Flood filed a lawsuit against the league and the reserve clause in 1970. This attempt failed, but the clause was eventually defeated in 1975 and the free-agency era was born.
Miller was recently voted into the Hall of Fame for his role in fighting for players' rights, and now there is a groundswell around Flood.
Over 12 seasons with the Cardinals, Flood hit .293/.343/.490 with 85 home runs, 636 RBIs, and 88 stolen bases. He led the National League in hits in 1964, won seven Gold Gloves, and appeared in three All-Star Games.
"I think the holdup is that he got on a lot of people's nerves," Flood's widow Judy Pace Flood said.
Flood died of throat cancer at the age of 59 in 1997.