In 1969, St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Curt Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He didn't want to go and eventually sued baseball, challenging its reserve clause, which gave owners absolute rights over players. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Flood lost, but his suit paved the way for modern free agency. He died Jan. 20, 1997. His wife recalls his testimony:
Curt wore No. 21. Half of 42. Jackie was Curt's hero from childhood. Curt wore 42 in the minor leagues. But 42 wasn't available when he got to the Cardinals. So he took 21.
The moment that Jackie and Rachel walked into the courtroom for Curt's trialwell, that was one of the high points of Curt's life. To have Jackie Robinson tell him, "Young man, I respect
you. What you're doing is right. You have the courage to stand up. I am here for you." That brought Curt almost to tears.
Judy Pace, wife of Curt Flood
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