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Monday, October 09, 2006
New Book on Curt Flood's Battle for Free Agency

Via Above the Law, I've learned of a new book on the Curt Flood saga by Yale-trained lawyer Brad Syder, entitled A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. According to the New York Times:
The author of “Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball,” Snyder is a sure-handed and meticulous guide. He knows baseball and writes about the law engagingly and clearly, without ever flaunting his Yale law degree. . . .

Snyder can also be pitiless, perhaps excessively so, but then some of the characters in this story earn his ridicule: Kuhn, a man who pulled off the neat sartorial trick of being at once a stuffed shirt and an empty suit; Goldberg, another legendarily pompous man who gave what even his co-counsel said was one of the worst oral arguments he’d ever heard; and Blackmun, an insecure and ineffectual tenderfoot before joining the liberal legion of superheroes.

At the same time, Snyder is too easy on those he most admires. That includes Marvin Miller, whom Snyder thanks twice in the acknowledgments, once for reading the manuscript. Even more than Flood, Miller deserves to be in Cooperstown. But it was Miller who took a vulnerable and deeply troubled man, used him, then — even by Snyder’s own admiring account — seemingly did nothing for him as his life fell apart, like helping him dry out or lending him money or buying him some new teeth or giving him a job. Only as Flood neared death did the Players Association deign to help him. “Miller’s admiration for Flood ran deep,” Snyder writes. Big deal. For the last four or five years of Flood’s life, Miller never even saw the guy.

And the book is too easy on Flood. Repeatedly, and in ever loftier rhetoric, Snyder insists Flood sacrificed his career for the lawsuit. That’s really not right: as a futile comeback attempt proved, Flood was largely spent when he went to court, and wanted little of baseball once he left it. Given his other sacrifices, there’s no need for such hype.

Generations of ballplayers — Curt Flood’s children — have never honored him properly. But with his fine book, Brad Snyder surely has.


If truth be told, there are probably a lot of people(fans)who resent Curt Flood because what he did, the stand he took, ultimately resulted in FREE AGENCY.

I say, give the man credit, give him his due, it took a lot of guts for him to take the stand he took and to stick to his guns amidst pressure from some players no doubt, not to mention ownership.

I would say any resentment should be aimed at Marvin Miller, if anyone.

Anonymous Dave Burkey -- 10/10/2006 7:39 PM  

Interesting hot stove project: read Marvin Miller's book "A Whole Different Ballgame" and then read Bowie Kuhn's autobiography "Hardball."

Compare and contrast.

Blogger ChapelHeel -- 10/11/2006 9:11 AM  

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