An Open Letter To The MLBPA

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Updated: April 10, 2008

“I was told by the general manager that a white player had received a higher raise than me. Because white people required more money to live than black people. That is why I wasn’t going to get a raise.”

— Curt Flood.

Curt Flood

NEW JERSEY — Dear Executive Director Donald M. Fehr:

It has now been more than ten years since the death of Curt Flood. Many of us, baseball fans and fans of Curt Flood in particular, were hoping that the 10th anniversary of his passing would bring with it a broader recognition of his contributions to Major League Baseball as well as his entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While Flood’s memory and contributions did garner broader attention, he was no closer to entering the Hall of Fame than on the day he passed away.

We, who honor the memory and contributions of Flood, recognize that his brave struggle to end the notorious “reserve clause” and bring about “free agency” could not have happened had it not been for the active support of the Players’ Association. For that we will always be in your debt.

Nevertheless we are at a moment when more is needed from your association. We need the Players’ Association to help lead a campaign to get Curt Flood into the Hall of Fame.

We need your association to stand up to the owners and their media allies and insist that today’s baseball might very well look quite different had it not been for the stand of that player from the St. Louis Cardinals, Curt Flood.

We realize that the Players’ Association, for understandable reasons, does not take positions on who should go into the Hall of Fame. While in general this makes perfect sense, in the case of Curt Flood it entirely misses the mark.

Not only was Curt Flood an outstanding player, but more than anything he was prepared to take a stand when others suggested silence, if not complicity with the wretched system of the reserve clause.

Emerging out of the Black American experience with injustice, Curt Flood took a stand on behalf of the players, be they Black, White, or Latino (and now Asian).

He did not have to take such a stand. He could have meekly accepted the trade to the Philadelphia Phillies and, quite probably, have lived a fairly comfortable life.

Nevertheless, he decided that the time had come to take a stand; and he did so with the support of your Association. That stand cost him a great deal, including friends, family, his career, and quite probably, years on his life.

We need you to step forward and insist that the time has come to right a great wrong. Curt Flood must be honorably admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and recognized not only for his outstanding abilities, but for his contribution to the sport of baseball.

In solidarity,

Bill Fletcher, Jr., Executive Editor, The Black Commentator