Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights
by Alex Belth
Curt Flood and His Fight for Players' Rights
. The game went into extra innings. Groat led off the bottom of the tenth with a triple, and the Cards had a golden opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately, they couldn’t bring him in, and two more tense scoreless innings ensued. Finally, in the thirteenth, the Dodgers scored an unearned run on an error by Javier and won, 6-5. They went on to win the pennant by six games, with the Cardinals finishing second at 93-69. Their rousing late run saved manager Johnny Keane’s job, but the Cardinal players were bitterly disappointed. They had made a valiant effort, but Stan Musial would not make it back to the fall classic.
On the last day of the season, the Cardinals celebrated Musial’s final game at Sportsman’s Park. Musial had reporters around him from early in the morning. Flood, though, was preoccupied with ending his season with 200 hits. Going into the last game, he was two hits shy. As Flood waited to be rubbed down in the trainer’s room before the game, the radio played “Stan the Man,” a local hit sung by St. Louis nightclub entertainer Marty Bronson. Flood sang along. Later he had Musial autograph a picture, on which Musial wrote, “A fine player—and a fielder who helped me out the last few years.” Flood looked at the inscription and teased the older man, telling him, “I was your wheels the last few years.”
After going hitless in his first two at bats, Flood led off the sixth with a double. He added a single before it was all over and had his 200 hits—a major milestone—and finished the year with 34 doubles, 9 triples, 17 stolen bases, and 112 runs scored. He was also awarded a Gold Glove award in recognition of his stellar defensive play. Although the Cardinals were losing one of the game’s all-time greats in Musial, they at least had Flood, one of the league’s bright young stars. At the age of twenty-five, he was just entering the prime of his career.
2006 by Alex Belth