Curt Flood Act

Ashley Davenport

SIGNIFICANCE?

The Curt Flood Act of 1998 stated baseball and all other sports in the United States were subject to the antitrust laws. It was created to prevent any future problems with antitrust in sports. This law has given players the opportunity for more input in their contracts. In naming this legislation after Curt Flood, it pays posthumous homage to a man of integrity and courage who lost his case and career, but allowed his baseball peers and those to follow the opportunity to gain freedom as professionals.

"Flood’s legacy is secure, no matter how naive today’s stars may be about his efforts to make it possible for them to choose where and for whom they play and, as a result, pave the way for the big-money salaries now commonplace across all sports." -Howard Burns

Its purpose was to state that “major league baseball players are covered under the antitrust laws.”

Flood's letter to Bowie Kuhn in December 1969. Flood states, "I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes." He then states that the Phillies have offered him a contract, but "I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decisions."
Flood became one of the pivotal figures in the sport's labor history when he refused to accept a trade following the 1969 season, ultimately appealing his case to the US Supreme Court. Although his legal challenge was unsuccessful, it brought about additional solidarity among players as they fought against baseball's reserve clause and sought free agency.

Flood's Legacy Changed Professional Sports Forever

"I said to Curt -- unless some miracle takes place and the Supreme Court reverses itself -- you're not going to win. And Curt, to his everlasting credit, said, 'But would it benefit all the other players and future players?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'That's good enough for me,' " says Marvin Miller on ESPN's SportsCentury series.