A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports
by Brad Snyder
“A well-paid slave is nonetheless a slave.” This statement brought about the lawsuit that challenged MLB and the “reserve clause” which prevented free agency. Snyder looks at Curt Flood’s life, both in baseball and his troubled personal life.
Snyder jumps to different points in Floods life and how these things made him into the person he became; his fight with racism in the southern minor leagues, being traded without his consent from the Reds to the Cardinals, and his fight with alcohol later in his career.
Most of the book is focused on Flood’s fight against baseball and the reserve clause. The reserve clause stated that a player was under a ball clubs control; the club could set the player’s salary and had complete control over them. Flood didn’t like the system because he felt he had no control over what would happen, even though he was on of the highest paid players at the time. After the 1969 season, Flood was traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies and Flood refused to go. The trade fueled the lawsuit.
Snyder takes the reader beyond the basics in the book. He looks in depth that the justice system, previous lawsuits against baseball, and much of the effect it had on other players. He talks to legal experts at the time, players, and MLB officials.
Overall, the book is an interesting look at how the game changed for the better (for the players). Snyder does well at making Flood a sympathetic person, even with his alcohol and business problems. He also covers all sides of the story (the owners, the lawyers, etc) to give an accurate portrayal.