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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Curt Flood (1938–1997) with Richard Carter. The Way It Is. New York: Trident Press, 1971. Private Collection (066.00.00)

“A Well-Paid Slave”

After being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies against his will, St. Louis veteran outfielder Curt Flood sued Major League Baseball in 1970 over the reserve clause. He was earning $90,000 a year but argued that “a well-paid slave is, nonetheless, a slave.” Only retired players, including Jackie Robinson, were willing to publicly support Flood, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him two years later. Flood’s autobiography, shown here, relates both his fight against the reserve clause and the indignities he suffered playing in segregated America.