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During Black History Month, Members of Congress and Professional Athletes Call for All-Star Baseball Player Curt Flood’s Induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Feb 28, 2020
Press Release
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Flood’s pioneering efforts for workers’ rights in professional sports

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, a bipartisan and bicameral coalition of Members of Congress called for All-Star baseball player Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Flood’s courageous challenge to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) reserve system, which helped create free agency within the MLB and transformed professional sports.

Led by Representative David Trone (D-MD), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), the Members announced that they will send a letter to the Chair of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame urging the induction of Curt Flood. The letter currently has more than 100 signatures.

The effort has been endorsed by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), and the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA). It has also been endorsed by UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents 300,000 working people across Canada and the United States in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries. 

Also in attendance at the event:

  • Judy Pace Flood, widow of Curt Flood
  • Xavier James, Chief Operating Officer, MLBPA
  • Chris Capuano, former Major League Baseball (MLB) player and Director of Operations, MLBPA
  • Don Fehr, Former Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) Executive Director and current National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director
  • Andre Collins, Former NFL player (Washington Redskins) and Executive Director, Professional Athletes Foundation, National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)
  • Dylan Mabin, Cornerback for the Raiders
  • Clarence Nesbitt, General Counsel, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)
  • Johnny Andris, Staff Counsel, Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA)
  • Amir Lowery, former MLS player and current member of Player Relations team (MLSPA)

“Retired and current players owe a debt of gratitude to Curt Flood,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO). “His legacy as a Cardinals player, advocate, and leader for the sport is still being felt today, and it is clear he has earned his spot in the Hall of Fame. I am proud to join with Curt’s widow, Judy, and my colleagues Senator Blunt, Congressman Clay and Congressman Trone in honoring a great American ballplayer and urging the Golden Era Committee to nominate and induct Curt Flood into the Hall of Fame. The three-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner amazed a generation of Cardinals fans with his talent and athleticism, while also changing the way the game was played and how the players were treated. I hope our effort today will allow him to join other Cardinal greats who have made their mark on America’s pastime.”

“Curt Flood changed the game of baseball when he courageously spoke truth to power in the name of what was right,” said Rep. David Trone (D-MD), who organized the efforts behind the Congressional letter. “Flood sacrificed his own career so players after him could have free agency, leaving one of the biggest impacts on the game to this day. It’s about time we all come together to recognize these distinctly American actions and induct Curt Flood into the Hall of Fame.”

“A copy of the letter Curt Flood wrote in 1969 is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and he should be there too,” said Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). “As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I have always admired the talent he brought to the game and his bravery off the field. He deserves to be honored with his rightful place alongside America’s greatest baseball players.” 

“Curt Flood’s courage struck a giant blow for freedom when he stood up to the Reserve Clause and demanded to be treated like a man, instead of a piece of property,” said Rep. Wm. Lacy clay (D-MO). “He was a brilliant center fielder, a perennial All-Star, a two-time World Series Champion…but more than that, he was a symbol of courage who stood up against injustice and changed the game forever. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

“Curt Flood’s historic challenge of the reserve clause a half century ago transcended baseball,” said the Players Associations in a joint statement. “He courageously sacrificed his career to take a stand for the rights of all players in professional sports, bringing the issue of free agency to the forefront of national discussion. His accomplishments on the field and off warrant induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”