1964: AL owners vote 9-1 against Charlie Finley moving KC A’s to Louisville
1970: Curt Flood files a civil lawsuit challenging baseball’s reserve clause
The Birth of FREE AGENCY in Professional Sports
I have often wondered what baseball, and all of the other professional sports would be like if these two pioneers had not fought for the causes they believed in. Here are some of the possibilities:
- No free agents. Play with the team you’re with unless they trade you or cut you.
- No agents.
- No negotiations.
- No instant millionaires.
- A much better passion for the game.
- No buying a championship.
- No steroids or other illegal substances, because of the much better passion for the game.
- No media trying to persecute ARod.
- No shaving points, at least not enough to be noticed.
- No 60 Minutes getting guys to confess, because there would be nothing to confess.
- Fans not having to pay $10,000 just to say “Hello” to a professional athlete.
- Fans not having to pay a professional athlete for his autograph.
- No college athletes going to the pros after their sophomore or junior year.
- No college athletes making millions of dollars for the school, but not seeing one penny.
- No ridiculous commercials during the Super Bowl.
- Playoffs that are started and ended in two weeks.
- No sponsors for college bowl games.
- No having to pay a scalper $10,000 to go to the World Series or Super Bowl.
- Buying a package of baseball cards just to get the bubble gum.
- Having the basketball Final Four in a basketball arena instead of a dome stadium.
- No strikes, arbitration, or threats to stop playing.
- No professional golfers wearing 5 different logo’s on their shirts, and three on their hats.
- No coaches having three different jobs in 5 years.
- Not having to pay $20 for a hot dog and drink at a game.
- Paying $2 for a general admission ticket.
- No great baseball players banned from the Hall of Fame.
Mr. Finley and Mr. Flood were pioneers, and fought for what they believed in. I don’t disagree with what they did. But professional sports, and college sports would be a little different today, if not for these gentlemen, and a few more who followed them.
Would it be better or worse? Who knows?