Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Curt Flood as a Senator

  1. #1

    Curt Flood as a Senator

    Just a couple of questions about Curt Flood's short stint as a Senator. Was there any reaction or excitement when the Senators acquired the rights to Flood in 1971? After playing only 13 games for the Senators, did he get injured or did he just retire? I have not read the new biography of Flood, but I have read elsewhere that Flood was out of shape and his heart wasn't into playing anymore in 1971.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    La Plata, MD
    Posts
    1,766

    It's been 37 years...

    Steve, I'm probably not the most objective person when this topic comes up. My recollection after all these years (I was a 17 year old high school senior at the time) is that Bob Short had little or no baseball business acumen. After the unpopular and ultimately disastrous trade for a washed up, baggage laden Denny McLain, the acquisition of Curt Flood was a desperate attempt to make it appear the Short was actually "improving" the team.

    (I do recall a "Sports Illustrated" cover from early 1971 with a photo of Ted Williams, Denny McLain and Curt Flood so there was some press coverage. Reaction-yes, excitement? I really don't recall any but as I said it's been a few years and I think I was more concerned about getting the heck out of high school than I was about the Senators prospects for the upcoming 1971 season.)

    At the time, Curt Flood was 33 years old, had not played baseball for over a year and his lawsuit against baseball's Reserve Clause was taking a mental and emotional toll.

    After appearing in just 13 games with the Senators (where he went 7 for 35, a .200 average with 2 RBI), Flood left the team and flew to Spain. He sent owner Bob Short a 22 word telegram that read: "I tried. A year and a half is too much. Very serious problems mounting every day. Thanks for your confidence and understanding.

    There were reports of both financial and alcohol problems dogging Flood. He died in 1997, two days after his 59th birthday.

    Curt Flood career record

    EDIT: If you'd like to research the subject in depth, the recently published (September 2007) book Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports by Brad Snyder should provide the requested information much better than relying on my 50+ year old memory.
    Last edited by Aa3rt; 04-14-2008 at 12:31 PM.
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    La Plata, MD
    Posts
    1,766

    Just for the heck of it...

    Here are the front and back of Curt Flood's 1971 Topps Card. Sorry for the poor quality of the scans.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

  4. #4
    Thanks Aa3rt. The quality of the scans is fine, IMO.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    La Plata, MD
    Posts
    1,766

    It was "Sport" Magazine...

    Steve, I stumbled across the link where I saw the magazine cover-I was wrong, it was "Sport" not Sports Illustrated as I'd originally thought. Here's a link to the magazine cover in question:

    Ted Williams, Denny McLain, Curt Flood in 1971

    Note that this is the May issue of Sport-by the time the magazine hit the newsstands Curt Flood had already bid the Senators adieu.
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

  6. #6
    I recall that the Curt Flood signing did generate a lot of excitement. Also his salary, $90K (IIRC), was big bucks back then.

    But even in spring training it began to show that he had lost much of his ability. And in when the season started, his age and time away from baseball showed.

    Nowadays, they would have put him in a 'minor league rehab' role to come back to big league playng condition.

    I've subsequently read that he Mr. Flood was the victim of vicious, racist hate mail (for his salary, for his lawsuit against baseball). The media back then did not mention of any of this but it surely would have had an impact on his on field performance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    La Plata, MD
    Posts
    1,766

    Thanks for the reminder...

    Thanks for the input TallIndian. Now that you mention it I do recall a lot of negative backlash directed towards Mr. Flood in regards to his salary in those pre-free agent days, as well the reaction to his lawsuit against MLB. I recall that he was branded a "troublemaker" (or worse).
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

  8. #8
    I hate to also mention this, but I believe that his wife/girlfriend may have been white -- which caused a lot of grief back then.

    I'll say this for Short, he tried to get marquee names (even if they were past their prime) to play for the Nats.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    La Plata, MD
    Posts
    1,766

    A lot of things I'd forgotten...

    Here's a writeup on Curt Flood from Wikipedia that should serve to refresh anyone's memory.

    Curt Flood mini-biography
    "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.

  10. #10

    Warner Wolf's Trivia question

    I had forgotten that the Senators actually had to trade for Curt Flood. The Nats sent Gene Martin (a Vietnam War veteran), and a couple of minor leaguers Jeff Terpko and Greg Goosen to the Philles for Flood and a player to be named later.

    This trade later became a mainstay of Warner Wolf's trivia contests on WTOP.

    The Phillies then sent Jeff Terpko back to the Nats to complete the trade. At the time Terpko was the only player to be traded for himself!


  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TallIndian View Post
    I had forgotten that the Senators actually had to trade for Curt Flood. The Nats sent Gene Martin (a Vietnam War veteran), and a couple of minor leaguers Jeff Terpko and Greg Goosen to the Philles for Flood and a player to be named later.

    This trade later became a mainstay of Warner Wolf's trivia contests on WTOP.

    The Phillies then sent Jeff Terpko back to the Nats to complete the trade. At the time Terpko was the only player to be traded for himself!

    I believe I once read somewhere that Harry Chiti was once traded by (or to, memory fails me) the Mets for the famous "player to be named later" and in the off season the team that got him finished the trade by returning Chiti himself as the player to be named later. EDIT to add data: From baseball reference.com April 26 1962 "Purchased by the New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians" ( it doesnt specify but in a different book, either Maury Allen's book or in the book "Nine Crucial Days" both written right after the 1969 Miracle WS Win, it states that Chiti was exchanged for a "PTBNL") then June 15 1962 "Returned to the Cleveland Indians by the New York Mets following previous purchase" aka AS "the player to be named later." !
    Last edited by Calif_Eagle; 05-10-2008 at 03:41 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by TallIndian View Post
    I'll say this for Short, he tried to get marquee names (even if they were past their prime) to play for the Nats.
    It seems that Short had a tendency to acquire the ones with the most baggage, to get Commissioner Bowie Kuhn involved and to make lawyers happy. Short had to negotiate with Kuhn to approval to acquire Flood, because the case was still in litigation. So, Short had to sign documents that, in essence, stated that acquiring Flood would not undermine MLB's case against Flood.

    Then there was the Denny McClain trade. Short made the trade while McClain was under suspension for associating with gamblers. Again, Kuhn had to step in. During the press conference announcing the McClain trade, Kuhn was present. Kuhn announced that he was lifting McClain' suspension and approving the trade because psychiatrists that examined McClain concluded that there was nothing "mentally wrong" with the former 30 game winner.

    Why couldn't Short just make bad trades for players not under suspension or suing baseball?
    Last edited by Steve Jeltz; 05-11-2008 at 12:49 AM.

  13. #13
    Short was to some extent like Al Davis or George Allen -- a maverick who believed that 'troubled' players, given the right environment, overcome adversity.

    A minor case was that of Lee Maye. I have heard that he was considered a dugout problem on other teams. In particular, he and Tony Horton had major problems.

    Short took on Maye who did reasonably well for the Nats

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •