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October 07, 2020

On the Anniversary of Historic Trade, Reps. Trone, Clay, and Wagner and Sen. Blunt Call for Baseball Player Curt Flood’s Induction Into the Hall of Fame

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: trone.press@mail.house.gov 

 

On the Anniversary of Historic Trade, Reps. Trone, Clay, and Wagner and Sen. Blunt Call for Baseball Player Curt Flood’s Induction Into the Hall of Fame

 

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) renewed their call for All-Star baseball player Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

On this day in 1969, Curt Flood was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. This sparked Flood’s courageous lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB) challenging the reserve system and helping to create free agency within the MLB. The move jeopardized his own career and transformed professional sports as we know it. 

In February, the lawmakers held a press conference and sent a letter to the Chair of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame urging the induction of Curt Flood. The letter garnered over 100 signatures. 

“It’s about time we honor Curt Flood as the great American civil rights and labor hero that he is,” said Representative Trone. “In sacrificing his own career, Flood left a lasting legacy that impacts professional sports to this very day. It’s time to right this wrong and deliver Flood the honor he deserves.”

“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 Representative Clay. “He was a symbol of determination and uncompromising dignity who stood up against injustice and changed the game forever. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

“Curt Flood’s legacy will resonate throughout the MLB, St. Louis, and America for decades to come,” said Representative Wagner.  “He changed the game of baseball forever, and I am proud of all he did for Cardinal Nation.  It is my hope the Golden Era Committee sees fit to induct this great American into the Hall of Fame and honor his legacy in perpetuity.”

“Curt Flood’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is an honor long overdue,” said Senator Blunt. “He had an outstanding career on the field, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series championships and earning seven consecutive Gold Gloves. Off the field, he cemented his legacy with the courageous stand he took 51 years ago today, paving the way for free agency. As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I’m proud to once again join my congressional colleagues in supporting Curt Flood’s induction into the Hall of Fame. His letter is in the Hall of Fame and he should be there too.”

“Curt Flood stood up on behalf of all professional athletes in team sports when he declined to accept being traded to a different organization in a different city in 1969 and instead began his court challenge to baseball’s reserve clause,” said Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark. “He was the first athlete to declare that he was not a piece of property to be bought, bartered or sold, and his fight for the freedom to choose where he lived and worked was one that would eventually bring about the age of free agency in professional sports.”

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. 

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research. 

 

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