RCC Honors History Project

Baseball, labor: Curt Flood and the rise of free agency

Posted by chad612 on May 20, 2009

Reading “baseball player” Steve Hamilton’s story in Working reminded me not only that baseball players (and all other professional athletes) are not all super ego-driven millionaires, but that there was a time when such a thing was not possible because the team owned the player’s contract, and free market negotiation with other teams was not possible. Obviously, good and bad has come from free agency. Players probably deserve some share if owners are making such fantastic profits, but a few superstar players lionize the payroll for most teams, and some team/region loyalty would be nice.

I found a great article by Allen Barra¬† in Rolling Stone: The 70’s that I am unfortunately unable to find on line concerning All-Star, Gold Glove center fielder Curt Flood’s legal battle for free agency. He was a groundbreaker for all athletes negotiating contracts, but didn’t benefit very much from it himself.

Here is a link to his wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curt_Flood

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