The St. Louis Cardinals played a large role in the demise of the Major League Baseball Reserve Clause.
October 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detail view of baseballs with the postseason logo before game one of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated Athletics 3-2. Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It’s all because of this trade made on October 7, 1969 when the Cardinals traded Curt Flood, Byron Browne, Joe Hoerner and Tim McCarver to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas. Flood refused to report so the Cardinals later sent over Willie Montanez (April 8, 1970) and Jim Browning (minors) (August 30, 1970) to complete the trade.
Flood was a pioneer in free agency. There’s no disputing this factor. His suing MLB on this date in 1970 helped pave the way for the multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts that we see in this day and age.
Flood loved playing in St. Louis. It’s unfortunate that Gussie Busch wanted to trade him. There’s no telling what the Cardinals of the 1970s would have looked like had this trade not happened. At the same time, there’s no telling what baseball would look like today had this trade not happened.
The 1960s and 1970s were a different time for baseball. Owners were cheap. They didn’t want to give players a big raise. Stan Musial and Ralph Kiner were the big money-makers when they played and even then, they made less than the president did at the time!