The 1960's are known for many things. The Beatles, landing on the moon and Sean Connery making his way through the women of the world as James Bond just to name a few. But one of the most pivotal points in US history happened in the 60's. The height of the civil rights movement. There are endless stories from the civil rights movement, some horrifying, some heartwarming. When it comes to baseball, so many fans remember Jackie Robinson as the man who broke the race barrier in baseball. But, there were many others that continued to struggle with pursuing their dream due to the very barrier that Robinson broke. One of those players, was Curt Flood.
The Curious Case of Curt Flood is HBO Sports' latest documentary, and it chronicles the success, struggle and legacy of the St. Louis star. Viewers are given the opportunity to hear from players that were close to Flood, like Mudcat Grant, Tim McCarver and Bob Gibson. Gibson speaks of the sense of humor with which Flood approached the racial discrimination they shared, and praises the "we" spirit that Flood possessed when it came to the team.
"Curt wasn't about himself, he was about us. And hardly any of his conversations would there be 'I'. It would be 'we'. You know, not many guys say that. Most guys say, 'I, I, I'. You know, this was 'we'. And that's who Curt was. And I guess that's the only way you can explain that. He was the Cardinals."
– Bob Gibson
This attitude that Curt Flood possessed is evident in the legacy that he left behind. In 1969, Curt Flood was traded along with catcher Tim McCarver, outfielder Byron Browne, and left-handed pitcher Joe Hoerner to the Philadelphia Phillies for first baseman Dick Allen, second baseman Cookie Rojas, and right-handed pitcher Jerry Johnson. The trade sparked a legal fight led by Flood that would change the face of baseball to this day. His dedication to Major League Baseball players as a community and a player's right to have control over his destiny and dream led to an overhaul of the free agent system that still affects every player today.
The Curious Case of Curt Flood is a story that proves fighting for what you believe is always the right choice. The immediate result may not be desirable, but the planting of seeds can lead to change. Curt Flood obviously knew the value to standing up for yourself and those around you, and in the end, his ambition is still inspiring.
If you want to see more about the life and influence of Curt Flood, be sure to catch the HBO Sports documentary The Curious Case of Curt Flood, which debuts Wed., July 13 at 9:00pm ET/PT exclusively on HBO with replays throughout the month.
I definitely recommend you watch.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS