One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

By John Florio; Ouisie Shapiro | Go to book overview

19

Curt Flood waited for Marvin Miller to pick up the phone. The veteran center fielder had been sent to the Phillies in the Dick Allen deal, and he was furious.

Flood felt he’d been screwed on two counts. First, he’d have to leave St. Louis, the city in which he’d blossomed as a ballplayer, made his home, and opened a photography business. Second, the news had been delivered by a front-office lackey. Bing Devine, the GM who engineered the trade, hadn’t even had the decency to tell Flood to his face that he’d been traded.

To make matters worse, Flood was being shipped to Philadelphia: the city that had run Allen out of town, the place known as the country’s “northernmost southern city,” the town where Jackie Robinson had been so mercilessly taunted.

Flood was a sensitive man who still felt wounded by the racism he’d encountered playing in the South during the minors. The last place he wanted to land was the City of Brotherly Love.

Besides, St. Louis had been good to him. He’d arrived in 1958, traded to the Cardinals by the Reds, who’d been too apprehensive to field an all-black outfield. Over the next twelve years in St. Louis, Flood had stumbled into manhood by marrying his girlfriend, Beverly Collins, adopting her two children, having three more, getting divorced, and marrying again, this time to actress Judy Pace. As a Major Leaguer, Flood was outstanding—a swift, graceful center fielder and steady hitter who won seven straight Gold Gloves, played in three All-Star games, and hit over .300 six times. It was no coincidence that with Flood in the lineup, the Cards had won three pennants and two world championships.

But by 1969, Flood’s relationship with the Cardinals had begun to fray. Before the season, he’d rejected the team’s salary offer of $77,500,

-173-

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One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword Bob Costas vii
  • A Note to the Reader ix
  • 1 1
  • 2 8
  • 3 23
  • 4 31
  • 5 43
  • 6 51
  • 7 58
  • 8 65
  • 9 72
  • 10 86
  • 11 100
  • 12 111
  • 13 126
  • 14 129
  • 15 138
  • 16 150
  • 17 156
  • 18 164
  • 19 173
  • 20 180
  • 21 192
  • Epilogue- 1975 201
  • Acknowledgments 203
  • Bibliography 205
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