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Paperback A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports Book

ISBN: 0452288916

ISBN13: 9780452288911

A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports

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Book Overview

A "captivating"* look at how center fielder Curt Flood's refusal to accept a trade changed Major League Baseball forever. After the 1969 season, the St. Louis Cardinals traded their star center fielder, Curt Flood, to the Philadelphia Phillies, setting off a chain of events that would change professional sports forever. At the time there were no free agents, no no-trade clauses. When a player was traded, he had to report to his new team or retire...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Well Paid Slave is a must read

Mr. Snyder I am reading your book about Curt Flood and I find it to be one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. I love baseball (but as a life long Texas Rangers fan, it has not loved me back) and have said on many occasions that each player in professional baseball should have two pictures that they carry with them; Jackie Robinson because he helped to make the game inclusive and Curt Flood, because he freed the players from their indentured servitude and gave them the ability to sale their services as they see fit. Now having said that, I have on more than one occasion cursed a player as he was leaving my team in free agency, to, as they say in the cliché "secure my family's future," but that is the fan in me and as a fan I am not required to be objective. When I think of what it would be like if I could not sell my skills to another company at a time and location of my choosing, I realize that what Curt Flood wanted from baseball is completely fair. Through reading your book, I see Curt as sort of a Christ-like figure; certainly not without his flaws, but possessing a level of principle and dignity that is sorely lacking in this day and age. To do what he did for others is the greatest self-sacrifice that one can aspire to. Again, thanks for this book. I will recommend it to anyone who has a real interest in learning more about this important subject.

A book every baseball fan should read

Brad Snyder's "A Well Paid Slave" is a book every baseball fan should read. The story of Curt Flood and his fight for free agency is one of the most pivotal events in professional sports. Snyder is the ideal person to write about Flood's battle. He covered the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun, is a lawyer and a gifted writer. He brings all of his strengths to this book. As a result, it is thoroughly researched, easy to read, and explains the legal proceedings in layman terms. Snyder tells Flood's story, warts and all. Flood's personal sacrifice was great, and few players appreciated it. Despite Flood's personal shortcomings (alcoholism, womanizing, and a deceiving portrait business), you can't help but to feel sympathetic toward him. The majority of the fans and sportswriters in 1970, thought of Flood, who made $100,000 a year, as greedy. They saw him as someone who was trying to ruin the game. It was interesting to read how little support Flood received from the other black superstars of the era--Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, and others. They were too concerned about their futures in baseball to rock the boat. It was also interesting to find out what happened to Flood after his retirement from baseball. The book bogs down a bit in the sections about the Supreme Court case, but after all this is a book about a law suit. And, Snyder deftly handles the material.

Curt Flood Paid the Price for Future Athletes

We have recently had definitive biographies of baseball stars Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Roberto Clemente, and Lou Gehrig. We can now add Curt Flood's name to that list with author Brad Snyder's effort entitled A Well-Paid Slave. As Flood stated, "A well-paid slave is nonetheless a slave." Flood's skills may have been on the downside with his trade to Philadelphia following the 1969 season due to his late night activities. The infamous trade only added to this problem with his refusal to report to the Phillies, and his suit against the game's establishment. He tried in a failed comeback with Bob Short's Washington Senators in 1970, and then retreated to Denmark. Players union head Marvin Miller got former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg to represent Flood, but Goldberg broke a promise to Miller not to run for political office. Deciding to run for governor of New York Goldberg was woefully unprepared to represent Flood before the Supreme Court. Frankly he embarrassed himself by giving what he called his worst performance ever. Flood's post-baseball life was difficult for the most part, but his loss before the Supreme Court alerted the baseball establishment that their lock on the game's reserve clause remained fragile. Eventually pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally won free agency when arbitrator Peter Seitz sided with the players after pleading with the owners and players to work something out together. The owners took their chances and Seitz sided with the players. Flood eventually kicked his alcohol and tobacco habit, and had happy years of remarriage and attendance at various baseball functions, but found out in 1995 that he had throat cancer. Howard Cosell, Marvin Miller, and old adversary Joe Garagiola, who testified against him in his suit, helped him out as did former teammates Bob Gibson and Bill White. Garagiola, who headed baseball's BAT organization for former players who needed help acknowledged how wrong he was in not supporting Flood's suit, because he thought it would hurt the game. "How wrong I was," Garagiola stated. This is a book present-day athletes in all sports need to read to educate themselves as to the advantages and riches they enjoy that Curt Flood and others like him never had.

Every MLB Player Should Be Required To Read This Book

There has been very little written about Curt Flood since his "autobiography" in the early 1970s and once a majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the reserve clause in MLB contracts would remain intact. Author Brad Snyder does outstanding research in covering every aspect of Flood; from a young person who showed emerging talent in baseball, to the minor-leaguer confronting the absolute evil of racism in the stands and on his teams, the great center-fielder with hall-of-fame credentials, to his virtually standing alone in his court battle and his struggles as a former pro player who was viewed by so many as wanting to destroy the game. The politics of the judicial system undid Flood's case. The majority opinion in the Supreme Court was written by a Justice whose research yielded a listing a great players from year's past. A colleague actually voted in favor of the opinion when one of his favorite players was included in that part of the text. Flood virtually became a footnote in baseball history a mere six years after he elected to challenge the reserve clause. A definitive biography has been long overdue. But I can say now that is has been well worth the wait. The task for writers who want to publish a book on the life and times of Flood will now be next to impossible. A Well-Paid Slave is a classic.

Best Baseball Book & Best Law Book I've Read In Years

Brad Snyder has done it again. Following on the heels of his much-acclaimed Beyond The Shadow of the Senators, Snyder returns to the pinnacle of his profession with A Well-Paid Slave, a gripping account of Curt Flood's fight for free agency in professional sports. In my opinion, Snyder's latest work is at once the best baseball book and the best law book that I've read in years. It is a gem that shows off Snyder's talents as a writer, researcher, and legal analyst. On Oct. 7, 1969, Flood, an All-Star and Gold Glove centerfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Instead of accepting the trade, Flood challenged the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams for life, and brought a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Although he narrowly lost before the Court, Flood paved the way for free agency and helped give ballplayers some say in where they played. The free agents who will sign multimillion dollar contracts this off-season owe some of their good fortune to Flood. According to Snyder, Jackie Robinson started a racial revolution by putting on a uniform and Flood started an economic revolution by taking his uniform off. In one riveting volume, Snyder manages both to tell Flood's personal and professional story and to present in a manner that is comprehensible even to those without formal legal training the amazing story of Flood's case, from the trial level all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as its implications forty years later. In a lengthy review this past Sunday, the New York Times Book Review concluded: "Generations of ballplayers -- Curt Flood's children -- have never honored him properly. But with his fine book, Brad Snyder surely has." I could not have said it better myself. Snyder is a star. A must read for anyone interested in baseball, American history, law, and sociology.
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