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For years, after telling players in spring training about the latest in Major League labor developments—the “10-5 Rule,” free agency, $1 million–plus multiyear contracts—longtime baseball players association chief Marvin Miller would say, “Curt Flood got you these things.” In 1969, after the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom Flood had played center field for 12 years, traded him away to Philadelphia, he announced he would sue the Cardinals and Major League Baseball to end the reserve clause—the provision in the standard player contract that essentially bound a player to a team for life. Still a productive player, the diminutive Flood essentially forfeited his career to spend the next two-and-a-half years taking his case through the federal courts. Former D.C. lawyer Brad Snyder details his fight in his book A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. Flood eventually lost his case, after the Supreme Court in 1972 ruled against him, but his campaign—in the media, if not in the courtroom—spelled the end for the reserve clause. Within two years, ace pitcher Catfish Hunter signed a five-year, $3.5 million contract (Flood never made more than $90,000 per year with the Cardinals), mediators repeatedly sided with players in labor disputes soon after, and the era of free agency had begun. But not for Flood: Blacklisted, he never played baseball after the Supreme Court decision, and his later attempts to get involved in the game were too often foiled by his alcoholism. But when you think of modern baseball—where players are paid what they’re worth, not what the owners say they’re worth, with the attendant multimillion-dollar contracts and labor stoppages—you must remember: Curt Flood got it these things. Snyder discusses and signs copies of his work at 11 a.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Mike DeBonis)