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
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.
Bill Fletcher, Jr., Executive Editor
The Black Commentator
Jr. is Executive Editor of The Black Commentator. He
is also a Senior Scholar with the Institute
for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica
here to contact Mr. Fletcher.