A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Floods Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports



A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Floods Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports
Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Curt Flood, an All-Star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to stay with St. Louis. But his only options were to report to Philadelphia or retire. Instead, Flood sued Major League Baseball for his freedom, hoping to invalidate the reserve clause in his contract, which bound a player to his team for life. Flood took his lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court, and though he ultimately lost, his decision to sue cost him his career and a chance at the Hall of Fame. But Flood’s place in baseball history, like that of Jackie Robinson’s, extends far beyond his accomplishments on the ballfield. Just three years later, the era of free agency that all professional athletes enjoy today became a reality.
In A Well-Paid Slave, the first extended treatment of Flood and his lawsuit, Brad Snyder examines this long-misunderstood case and its impact on professional sports. He reveals the twisted logic and behind-the-scenes vote switching behind the court’s decision and explains Flood’s decision to sue in the context of his experiences during the civil rights movement. Astutely and dramatically told, A Well-Paid Slave will appeal broadly to fans of sports history, legal affairs, and American culture.
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