The St. Louis Cardinals’ 50 greatest players

23 of 51

Embed from Getty Images

#29 Curt Flood OF

It’s no secret what Flood did for the game of baseball off the field, paving the way for players to own the rights to their futures. He helped created free agency, taking control from the team and placing it inside the player’s hands.

Imagine if John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt Jr. could just determine how long they wanted Adam Wainwright to pitch for them and Waino had zero say in the matter. That will always be Flood’s biggest impact, but he was also a marvelous centerfielder, winning seven straight gold gloves from 1963-71.

Flood came to the Cardinals in 1958 and played 12 seasons in St. Louis, averaging a 3.5 WAR, including six seasons of 4.0 or more. He played in 150 games or more in seven seasons. He wasn’t a slugger by trade, but he finished with a .293 lifetime mark as a Cardinal and posted a .343 on base percentage.

Flood ended his career, of course, in controversy, refusing to play in 1970 due to the player rights battle. He came back in 1971 with Washington but was a shade of his former self, playing in only 15 games before retiring.

He did not go into the Hall of Fame, even though his defense was game changing at an important position. He made his MLB debut against the Cardinals and put together his best years in St. Louis. Flood was a great player but his legacy making mark came off the field.

Dan Buffa

Next: Ed Koney