Friday, December 21, 2012

For The Good of Baseball

Don't let the title fool you. It's easier said than done considering all the camouflage owners would use to get you to believe that they really cared. All they ever cared about was the bottom line.

From "Baseball and It's Myths ( was some good insight into the hypocrisy of baseball. I think every baseball fan should know this as they should know the Curt Flood story.

'If a player refused to cooperate with the team or sought greater pay, he challenged not the owners personally, but "the Good of the Game," the very integrity of our sacred national pastime... The owners had spun the myths of baseball pastoral purity into Spalding's great "national agreement." A player privileged enough to play baseball had the duty to protect the Integrity of the Game- even if it meant accepting a reserve clause and a lower salary. "What burns the player," Curt Flood wrote in his book "The Way It Is," "is the awareness that certain of his contributions to the fables of baseball strengthen the employer's position and weaken his own."

"I guess you really have to understand who Curt Flood was. I'm a child of the sixties; I'm a man of the sixties. During that period of time this country was coming apart at the seams. We were in Southeast Asia. Good men were dying for America and for the Constitution. In the sourthern part of the United States we were marching for civil rights and Dr. King had been assassinated, and we lost the Kennedys. And to think that merely because I was a professional baseball player, I could ignore what was going on outside the walls of Busch Stadium was truly hypocrisy and now I found that all of those rights that these great Americans were dying for, I didn't have in my own profession."

"In the typically exaggerated rhetoric owners would dip into when the game and their pocketbooks, were threatened, Branch Rickey of the Dodgers proclaimed Danny Gardell's attempt at free labor to possess a "communistic tendency." Are you kidding, these capitalists were the last people to talk. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Geeez!

Major league owners punished those who had "defected," because they were threatening the "good of the great American game." Teams would blacklist these players for a minimum of five years.

'The baseball plantation system carried on unperturbed. Despite the game's growing popularity and enormous new income from radio and television rights, the average player salary stayed at almost exactly the same point- compared to the general population-as it had for a century.

But as Curt Flood stated so appropriately, "The moment we found out that the owners didn't want Marvin Miller, he was our guy."

Marvin Miller: "At the time Curt Flood decided to challenge baseball's reserve clause, he was perhaps the sport's premier center fielder. And yet he chose to fight an injustice, knowing that even if by some miracle he won, his career as a professional player would be over. At no time did he waver in his commitment and determination. He had experienced something that was inherently unfair and was determined to right the wrong, not so much for him, but for those who would come after him. Few praised him for this, then or now. There is no Hall of Fame for people like Curt."

(thanks to Baseball and It's Myths and Baseball Reliquary on Curt Flood for the information)

Kevin J. Marquez