A Blockbuster Trade
"A well paid slave is nonetheless a slave."
"It was not the smart thing to do or the prudent thing to do.”
-Curt Flood on refusing to go to the Phillies
"I made that trade with a great deal of fear and trepidation."
-Bing Devine, Cardinals General Manager, commenting on the trade
"Enormous things happen when you move a player from one town to another, when you trade or sell him. Sometimes the owners lose sight of that."
After twelve seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Curt Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies (see trade notice and letter). He was part of a blockbuster trade involving him, three other Cardinals, and three Phillies.
Curt didn't want to be traded to Philadelphia. The Phillies were the worst team in baseball at that time and were known for their racist fan base. He wrote a letter to Bowie Kuhn, Commissioner of Baseball, asking to not be traded (see Flood's request). Kuhn, citing the Reserve Clause, rejected his request (see Kuhn's response).
Curt refused to report to Philadelphia, feeling that the trade violated his rights to choose where he would play.
"After twelve years in the Major Leagues, I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States."
-Excerpt from Curt Flood's letter to the Commissioner of Baseball, Bowie Kuhn.