MLBPA to honor player with annual Curt Flood Award

Curt Flood paved the way for free agency in Major League Baseball when he filed a federal lawsuit in January 1970 challenging the reserve clause.

NEW YORK — The baseball players’ association is starting an annual Curt Flood Award.

Part of the annual Players Choice Awards, the Flood honor will be given to a player “who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the players’ association and advancement of players’ rights.”

Flood, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1958-69, died in 1997. He was a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion with St. Louis who unsuccessfully sued to strike down baseball’s reserve clause, a case he lost at the Supreme Court in a 5-3 vote in 1972.

Flood’s case helped unite the union behind executive director Marvin Miller, and the reserve clause was struck down by arbitrator Peter Seitz in the Andy Messersmith-Dave McNally grievance in December 1975.

The inaugural Flood award will be announced Thursday.