The first thing and most important thing to know about Curt Flood's Hall of Fame candidacy is that he didnt topple the Reserve Clause in Major League Baseball, at least not single-handedly.
Sure, it was a big deal when the veteran center fielder refused to report to the Philadelphia Phillies after a December 1969 trade from the St. Louis Cardinals. After Greg Van Roten Jerseys twelve years in the Major Leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes, Flood told Commi sioner Bowie Kuhn in a subsequent letter.
Important words, absolutely. A key part of a larger battle? Almost certainly. The crushing blow? Not at all.
Flood took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he lost by a 5-3 vote in 1972. The Reserve Clause remained. It wasnt until December 23, 1975 that arbitrator Peter Seitz abrogated the clause and gave players the right to free agency in a case that involved pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Me sersmith.
Flood didnt figure into the McNally and Me sersmith case. Still, myths persist about his role in bringing about free agency. He tied for 10th in a 2014 project I conducted, having readers vote on .
Marvin Miller took seventh in this project and was arguably the only truly indispensable member of baseballs labor fight. Miller picked apart baseballs labor practices in 14 years as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players A sociation, negotiating the sports first collective bargaining agreement in 1967 and winning neutral arbitration for his players in 1970.
Without neutral arbitration or Miller, Seitz wouldnt have been in position to make his decision.
With or without Flood, Miller would have kept finding players to test the Reserve Clauseand he kept seeking test cases, from Catfish Hunter to Bobby Tolan to Sparky Lyle before Me sersmith and McNally made their play.
Flood certainly has his Hall of Fame supporters. New York Jets Home Office To be fair, these supporters point not only to Floods role in baseballs labor fight but also that he was one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball history. Are they on to something? Has Flood been overlooked?
Cooperstown chances: 25 percent
Why: Flood topped out at 15.1 percent of the Hall of Fame vote in his final year on the ballot for the Baseball Writers A sociation of America in 1996, a year before he died of cancer at 59. Posthumously, he has been a Hall of Fame candidate three more Freeman McNeil Jerseys times, in the 2003, 2005, and 2007 Veterans Committee elections.
Floods window with the Hall of Fame might have closed. He hasnt been a candidate since the Veterans Committee split into three rotating committees based on era in 2010. Theres nothing to indicate hell be a candidate when the Golden Era Committee meets again in the fall of 2017.
Statistically, Flood doesnt have much to impre s a Hall of Fame committee, hitting .293 with 1,861 hits and just 12 full seasons. No position player whos retired since 1959 has gotten in with le s than 2,000 hits.
A Hall of Fame committee member told me in January that when La'Mical Perine Jerseys his committee meets, it looks at things like the Similarity Scores listed on Baseball-Reference.com, which arent the best measure of a players worthine s, since the scores dont weight for era. All the same, theyre readily acce sible on the worlds greatest baseball website, so a lot of people rely on them.
The names on Floods Similarity Scores list dont inspire much confidence in his case: Jim Piersall, Randy Winn, Enos Cabell. The list goes on.
Floods basic sabermetrics dont make up for his pedestrian stats either: 41.7 WAR, 16.7 Wins Above Average, and a 100 OPS+. All of these numbers suggest Flood was a serviceable, if not good player, one who might have accumulated Hall of Fame numbers with a full career. Still, it likely wouldve been borderline.
Flood was a key member of some iconic Cardinals teams in the 1960s. But so were Julian Javier, Bill White, and Ray Sadecki, and no ones gathering signatures for their Hall of Fame bids.
About the best thing Flood has going for his Hall of Fame case, aside from his role in baseballs labor fight, is his defense, with seven straight Gold Gloves. Unlike some older defensive legends, sabermetrics back up Flood as well. From 1958 through 1967, Flood was 99.8 runs better than average defensively according to Baseball Reference. Just six players rank in front of him in this span with all but Clete Boyer a Hall of Famer.
Defensive selections are rare, though. One such selection, Bill Mazeroski in 2001, stirred such outrage that the Veterans Committee quit voting annually thereafter. Other Tim Ward Jerseys defensive specialists will likely never get in the Hall of Fame, from Clete Boyer to Mark Belanger to Paul Blair. When ace fielders do get in, something else helps, be it Ozzie Smiths acrobatics or Mazeroskis home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
Floods image as a labor pioneer could be his extra thing. But the Hall of Fame hasnt exactly been in a rush to honor players and union executives who helped send salaries skyrocketing. Millers famously fallen just short many times and could be on the Expansion Era ballot again this fall. Whether he finally gets in is anyones gue s.
If and when Miller is posthumously inducted, Flood might be a logical next choice. While hes merely a symbol, it wouldnt be the first time the Hall of Fames inducted one.
Cooperstown Chances examines the Baseball Hall of Fame case of one candidate each week. Series author and Sporting News contributor Graham Womack writes regularly about the Hall of Fame and other topics related to baseball history at his website, . Follow him on Twitter: Jabari Zuniga Jerseys .