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Missouri congressional delegates encourage Baseball Hall of Fame to induct Curt Flood

  

Members of Missouri’s congressional delegation are joining the bipartisan push to add St. Louis Cardinals icon Curt Flood to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Congresswomen Cori Bush and Ann Wagner, and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver joined colleagues from Maryland and Illinois in a letter to the chair of the board urging Flood’s induction. The board was scheduled to meet to consider the induction last year but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

During his tenure in major league baseball, Flood played for several teams including the Cardinals. 

Flood was known for challenging the league’s labor regulations after refusing to accept a trade in 1969, taking his argument to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the challenge was unsuccessful, his stand has been remembered by fans and the industry; a 1969 letter from Flood to the commissioner of baseball demanding treatment as a free agent has been preserved in the Hall of Fame and Museum as well. 

“I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and baseball fans nationwide in calling for Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” Blunt said. “Guided by his principles, he made the brave decision to challenge the league’s reserve clause, knowing full well that it could jeopardize his career. If Curt Flood’s letter is in the Hall of Fame, Curt Flood should be there too.”

The league’s reserve clause was eventually revoked in 1975. Congress unanimously passed the Curt Flood Act in 1998, overruling prior court decisions that exempted baseball from antitrust laws governing other sports.  

More than 100 members of Congress and several major sports leagues signed a letter encouraging his induction last year. Signees argued Flood’s achievements in the game and his impact on the industry — especially as a Black player advocating for reform at the end of the 1960s — merited the honor.

“Today, St. Louis and I honor the legacy of Missouri’s own Curt Flood by recognizing his accomplishments and sacrifices in his relentless struggle to assert his rights against the MLB reserve clause,” Bush said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in urging Mr. Flood be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame to preserve his historic legacy and contributions.”

Flood was a three-time All-Star and Golden Glove winner. He is also a member of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. He died in 1997.

Photo provided by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.