This Date In Cardinal History: Curt Flood’s Gift To Us
As Christmas season reaches its apex, today marks an important date in history not only for St. Louis Cardinal fans, but for fans of every Major League Baseball team. On December 24, 1969, Curt Flood sent a letter to then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn that changed baseball and, in turn, ended his career playing the game he loved.
In the letter, Flood explains to Kuhn that after twelve years playing in the Major Leagues, “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes.” He goes on to say that it is his desire to play baseball the following season, “but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decisions.”
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The letter was in response to a trade Cardinals made with the Philadelphia Phillies with Flood, along with Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, and Joe Hoerner, going to the Phillies for Dick Allen, Jerry Johnson, and Cookie Rojas. You could say it was the trade of all seasons, or for all seasons to come.
The trade, and the letter, laid the groundwork for major changes in the relationship between teams and players. Flood did not benefit from his efforts. But those who have played the game since have. That is what Flood had hoped for. That is why he signed on to challenge the system. That is why he sent the letter 45 years ago today.
Merry Christmas to Major League Baseball players everywhere. And thank you, Curt Flood.