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A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports

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Curt Flood and the landmark Supreme Court case that changed professional sports forever Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Curt Flood, an All-Star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to stay with St. Louis. But his only options were to report to Philadelphia or retire. Instead, Flood sued Major League Baseball for his Curt Flood and the landmark Supreme Court case that changed professional sports forever Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Curt Flood, an All-Star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to stay with St. Louis. But his only options were to report to Philadelphia or retire. Instead, Flood sued Major League Baseball for his freedom, hoping to invalidate the reserve clause in his contract, which bound a player to his team for life. Flood took his lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court, and though he ultimately lost, his decision to sue cost him his career and a chance at the Hall of Fame. But Flood’s place in baseball history, like that of Jackie Robinson’s, extends far beyond his accomplishments on the ballfield. Just three years later, the era of free agency that all professional athletes enjoy today became a reality. In A Well-Paid Slave, the first extended treatment of Flood and his lawsuit, Brad Snyder examines this long-misunderstood case and its impact on professional sports. He reveals the twisted logic and behind-the-scenes vote switching behind the court’s decision and explains Flood’s decision to sue in the context of his experiences during the civil rights movement. Astutely and dramatically told, A Well-Paid Slave will appeal broadly to fans of sports history, legal affairs, and American culture.


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Curt Flood and the landmark Supreme Court case that changed professional sports forever Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Curt Flood, an All-Star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to stay with St. Louis. But his only options were to report to Philadelphia or retire. Instead, Flood sued Major League Baseball for his Curt Flood and the landmark Supreme Court case that changed professional sports forever Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Curt Flood, an All-Star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to stay with St. Louis. But his only options were to report to Philadelphia or retire. Instead, Flood sued Major League Baseball for his freedom, hoping to invalidate the reserve clause in his contract, which bound a player to his team for life. Flood took his lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court, and though he ultimately lost, his decision to sue cost him his career and a chance at the Hall of Fame. But Flood’s place in baseball history, like that of Jackie Robinson’s, extends far beyond his accomplishments on the ballfield. Just three years later, the era of free agency that all professional athletes enjoy today became a reality. In A Well-Paid Slave, the first extended treatment of Flood and his lawsuit, Brad Snyder examines this long-misunderstood case and its impact on professional sports. He reveals the twisted logic and behind-the-scenes vote switching behind the court’s decision and explains Flood’s decision to sue in the context of his experiences during the civil rights movement. Astutely and dramatically told, A Well-Paid Slave will appeal broadly to fans of sports history, legal affairs, and American culture.

30 review for A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Re-read. I actually liked this more on the second go-round; the legal discussions (the book is written by a lawyer) really dragged on me the first time but for whatever reason even though I still skimmed a bit of it I found it much more engaging this time around. Serves as a decent biography of Flood but a really thorough look at his lawsuit. Recommended for sports fans or anyone interested in labor law or workers rights.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    I've always loved baseball, so much so, that I wrote my 1st research paper on MLB's strikes in '80, '81, & '85 when I was in HS. I don't know if that's when I became aware of Curt Flood, or from my grandpa, the Cards fan. Either way, I knew who Curt Flood was. At least I thought I did. Wow. Curt Flood is one of the most heroic & tragic figures I have ever read about. He put everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on the line, and not only did his fellow players not show up for him when he started his I've always loved baseball, so much so, that I wrote my 1st research paper on MLB's strikes in '80, '81, & '85 when I was in HS. I don't know if that's when I became aware of Curt Flood, or from my grandpa, the Cards fan. Either way, I knew who Curt Flood was. At least I thought I did. Wow. Curt Flood is one of the most heroic & tragic figures I have ever read about. He put everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on the line, and not only did his fellow players not show up for him when he started his trial---there were 2 teams playing in NY, which meant there was ALWAYS a steady stream of ballplayers passing through town--when he died, not one current player even bothered to show up at his funeral. Shame on them! He ended up so broke, he couldn't afford to get home, yet MLB players were benefiting from his sacrifice. I'll never understand why the Union didn't take better care of him. And don't get me started on Arthur Goldberg..... This book not only opened up my eyes to the sacrifices Curt Flood made, it also serves as a behind the scenes look at the Supreme Court. All in all, this is just a fascinating book, and I am glad Mr Snyder quit his day job to tell this story. Now, if they could just make a movie about Curt's battle like they did about the Maris-Mantle home run battle (*61).... It's a story that needs to be told, and never forgotten.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stan Smith

    Highest rating. Not only covers the baseball stuff you would expect, but handles the black-white divide for players of his era, as well as all of the free agency/Supreme Court litigation details. An interesting, but sadly flawed, and ultimately tragic figure. Players today should really remember to give Curt Flood his due, because he - with help from Marvin Miller - really paved the way for today's players. Highest rating. Not only covers the baseball stuff you would expect, but handles the black-white divide for players of his era, as well as all of the free agency/Supreme Court litigation details. An interesting, but sadly flawed, and ultimately tragic figure. Players today should really remember to give Curt Flood his due, because he - with help from Marvin Miller - really paved the way for today's players.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Spiros

    Following the 1969 season, Cardinals' GM Bing Devine packaged aging centerfielder Curt Flood with several other spare parts in a trade to acquire the prodigiously talented, and chronically troubled, Dick Allen from the Philadelphia Phillies; despite Flood's great popularity with Cards' fans, despite his lifetime .300 bating average and seven Gold Gloves, despite having been an integral part of three pennant winning teams, Devine divined a waning in Flood's skills, and was willing to gamble that Following the 1969 season, Cardinals' GM Bing Devine packaged aging centerfielder Curt Flood with several other spare parts in a trade to acquire the prodigiously talented, and chronically troubled, Dick Allen from the Philadelphia Phillies; despite Flood's great popularity with Cards' fans, despite his lifetime .300 bating average and seven Gold Gloves, despite having been an integral part of three pennant winning teams, Devine divined a waning in Flood's skills, and was willing to gamble that Allen, freed from the racist pressure cooker that was Phillie baseball at the end of the '60's, would shed some of his baggage and become the superstar that he was projected to be. Although Flood had been with the Cardinals for twelve seasons, he would have no say on this transaction; Major League teams, through the Reserve Clause written into all player contracts, controlled the destinies of all the players on their 40 man rosters, in perpetuity. Instead of accepting a trade to Philadelphia, Curt Flood threatened to retire, effectively ending his servitude. Spurred by his involvement in in the Civil Rights struggle, and inspired by his childhood hero, Jackie Robinson, Flood decided to challenge the Reserve Clause in the Courts; with the approval and financial support of the nascent Baseball Players' Union, he carried his fight to the United States Supreme Court. Snyder does a great job describing the series of legal battles, and the horrific toll they took on Curt Flood, who fought alone, since no active players, and pitifully few retired players, would dare to actively support him, lest they risk banishment from the Game. A book I recently read characterized Commissioner Bowie Kuhn as "one of the most effective and evenhanded stewards baseball has ever known". He is herein revealed as a fawning stooge of the ownership of baseball, which is much more the way I remembered him at the time; to be blunt, he was a cocksucker. As is fitting, the best tribute to Flood was paid by Bill "Spaceman" Lee, a man who was (and remains) a fierce competitor on the field. In an old-timers game at Fenway, 'Lee showed his appreciation by serving up a fat pitch. "I thought, 'Here was the one guy who did as much for baseball as anyone else', so I just said, 'Here, hit it'" Lee said. Flood hit a home run.'

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    The lawyer in Brad Snyder sort of takes over in the second half of this nice account of Curt Flood's legal test of baseball's reserve clause. That probably couldn't be helped, but as interesting -- and occasionally, downright funny -- as the supreme court's final handling of Flood v. Kuhn is, the story loses a little momentum when Flood disappears. Still, Snyder writes clearly (there are a couple exceptions late, when lawyers might have a better idea of what exactly happened than I would) and kno The lawyer in Brad Snyder sort of takes over in the second half of this nice account of Curt Flood's legal test of baseball's reserve clause. That probably couldn't be helped, but as interesting -- and occasionally, downright funny -- as the supreme court's final handling of Flood v. Kuhn is, the story loses a little momentum when Flood disappears. Still, Snyder writes clearly (there are a couple exceptions late, when lawyers might have a better idea of what exactly happened than I would) and knowledgably, and his handling of Flood's early history and the plight of blacks in baseball is expert. Snyder ably shows us all sides of this heroic but quite flawed man and what his selfless battle for free agency cost him.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Outstanding book for both the legal research and from the perspective of sports history - each modern baseball player today should thank Curt Flood for his fight against baseball's reserve clause that was eventually struck down. Full review can be found here: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201... Outstanding book for both the legal research and from the perspective of sports history - each modern baseball player today should thank Curt Flood for his fight against baseball's reserve clause that was eventually struck down. Full review can be found here: http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Billy Taylor

    Wow, what an education on so many levels. This was a good read, that opened my eyes to the impact and sacrifices of many. Everyone that loves sports should learn and understand the impact Curt Flood has on not only baseball, but all professional sports.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shaxzod

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A Well-Paid Slave by Brad Syden is a biographical, non-fiction novel focused on Curt Floods fight for free agency in a segregated National Baseball League. Although its main subject concerns baseball, the author reaches much deeper matters. It’s emphasis on civil liberty, the many unsung heroes of the civil-rights movement (a focus on athletes that were involved with the movement), and eventually its underlying theme: human nature and its lust for going against an unjust establishment. Furthermo A Well-Paid Slave by Brad Syden is a biographical, non-fiction novel focused on Curt Floods fight for free agency in a segregated National Baseball League. Although its main subject concerns baseball, the author reaches much deeper matters. It’s emphasis on civil liberty, the many unsung heroes of the civil-rights movement (a focus on athletes that were involved with the movement), and eventually its underlying theme: human nature and its lust for going against an unjust establishment. Furthermore, the novel goes on welcomed and supplementary tangents about various topics such as court proceedings, important figureheads during the racial climate of the 90’s America (regardless of their support, or rather their lack thereof) that indulge the reader and performs the necessary duty of a nonfiction novel: it informs. The novel begins with what Curt Flood goes through as an African-American in his beginning days as minor-leaguer in the southern states, and puts the spotlight on various other African-American athletes that suffered the same sickening racial discrimnation that was rampant during the time. Eventually getting to the lawsuit that sparked the fight for individual-freedom for athletes that led to free-agency, and the jaw-dropping salaries we see today that athletes garnar. The trials and tribulations that we see Curt Flood, and other athletes go through invoke sympathy, and give an unheard perspective on how bad racial tensions were not so long ago. We see the rise of Curt Flood as one of the best center-fielders of his time and his record-breaking salary of $90 000 when he was with the Cardinals to his fall when the pressures of his case proved too much, and the financial troubles that drove him into a sea of alcoholism and depression then again to his rise as a prominent and respected vetern to his fellow baseball players. A rollercoaster of emotions inflict the reader such as sympathy, disgust (at discrimnation African-Americans went through), and most importantly respect for Curt Flood as an athlete, and a human that fought selflessly against what seemed impossible to benefit his future colleagues. The writing is eloquent as every important person, situation, court-date, etc in Floods’ life and in the fight for civil liberty in baseball is introduced without confusing the reader, and with proper context so that the reader may understand the importance of said character, situation, court-date, etc. The novel doesn’t end when Curt Flood ends either (dying at the young age of 59), it goes further to describe how Floods’ fight, although a loss at the time, was monumental to future dealings and negotiations with the owners. We appreciate how hard the author, Brad Syden, worked to deliver this mute part of history; Going through the trouble of requesting multiple interviews from the people involved to going through multitudes of court documents to stopping his law practise/schooling to actually finish this book, Brad Syden delivers the immense amount of information with grace. Although I’m praising this novel it does have some shortcomings. Firstly, I felt it a slog to get through the various baseball player/club names, their skill level/their success, and the history of said player/club. This criticism however is completely subjective as this was merely a personal case of dislikeness towards baseball as a sport. Regardless this is MY review, so this criticism will factor into my rating of a 4/5 for the novel A Well-Paid Slave by Brad Syden “Robinson started the revolution by putting on a uniform. Flood finished it by taking it off.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anup Sinha

    This book is expertly written by Brad Snyder whose unique background as a lawyer and a (clearly) huge baseball fan makes him the right guy to take on this endeavor. But what really made this work was his excellent writing ability. Sometimes passion and research jumbles together to make a book unreadable but that was not the case here. I am a legal illiterate and was much more interested in the baseball and personal side of Curt Flood. I feel I got that and also a feel of what happened inside the This book is expertly written by Brad Snyder whose unique background as a lawyer and a (clearly) huge baseball fan makes him the right guy to take on this endeavor. But what really made this work was his excellent writing ability. Sometimes passion and research jumbles together to make a book unreadable but that was not the case here. I am a legal illiterate and was much more interested in the baseball and personal side of Curt Flood. I feel I got that and also a feel of what happened inside the courtroom and the long term consequences of Flood’s suit. Snyder left no stone unturned on the legal aspects and I admittedly skimmed through a lot of those details towards the end of the book just to get the gist. I imagine a legal person would love those details when trying to learn more about the case. I also like Snyder’s narrative style; for the most part, he presents facts and evidence and lets you make the judgment. I walked away with actually less sympathy for then man Curt Flood in fact seeing a self-destructive man who defies his own expressions all the time. He suffered quite a downward spiral for a good 15 years or so and blames it on the suit, but I feel like it is largely self-inflicted and that he would have found a way to self-destruct regardless. He was clearly a horrible family man when he abandoned his kids to live in Europe when he could have had all the time in the world to spend with them. I am pleased that he found some peace and happiness in the last years of his life which included giving up substances. They have tried to explain his ordeal as a precursor to MLB free agency. There is no direct link to Andy Messersmith, but perhaps it did set the tone and get it in people’s minds to where one day it would be for real.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave Berger

    An exceptionally well-researched biography, Snyder’s work marries sports biography, legal thriller, and civil- rights history in relating one man’s struggle to overcome an unjust system’s restraints. From Curt Flood’s upbringing, to his challenging baseball’s reserve clause to the U.S. Supreme Court, “A Well-Paid Slave” draws on a remarkable number of books, articles, letters and first-hand interviews to paint a picture of a complicated man, fighting to overcome injustice. Beyond telling Flood’s s An exceptionally well-researched biography, Snyder’s work marries sports biography, legal thriller, and civil- rights history in relating one man’s struggle to overcome an unjust system’s restraints. From Curt Flood’s upbringing, to his challenging baseball’s reserve clause to the U.S. Supreme Court, “A Well-Paid Slave” draws on a remarkable number of books, articles, letters and first-hand interviews to paint a picture of a complicated man, fighting to overcome injustice. Beyond telling Flood’s story to the best of his abilities, Snyder also gives the reader remarkable insight into the challenges that African-American athletes faced in the 1960s. I had stupidly assumed, for example, that 15-20 years after the major leagues had integrated, black and white players had relatively similar experiences. As “A Well-Paid Slave” reveals, African-American athletes - even all-stars like Curt Flood, Lou Brock & Bob Gibson - were often denied service in hotels and restaurants when below the Mason-Dixon line, and spent all of spring training (in Jim Crow Florida) at 3rd-rate boardinghouses while their white counterparts luxuriated at fine hotels. Their minor-league experiences were similarly miserable - and while northern cities provided some respite from the horrors of segregation, the athletes still faced regular indignities there, purely because of their race. Several years after I first read it, “A Well-Paid Slave” still sticks with me as an exceptional work of biography, legal scholarship and civil-rights history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luke Koran

    Following your viewing of Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary, the very next thing you should do is read up on Curt Flood - the oft-forgotten piece in the long-awaited era of free agency in baseball -in Brad Snyder’s biography “A Well-Paid Slave.” Though Flood’s story comes in the form of a complicated lawsuit, the legal language, lawyer’s strategies, and Supreme Court process are all presented here in quite a readable, enjoyable biography. The truth concerning the person behind the player who sac Following your viewing of Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary, the very next thing you should do is read up on Curt Flood - the oft-forgotten piece in the long-awaited era of free agency in baseball -in Brad Snyder’s biography “A Well-Paid Slave.” Though Flood’s story comes in the form of a complicated lawsuit, the legal language, lawyer’s strategies, and Supreme Court process are all presented here in quite a readable, enjoyable biography. The truth concerning the person behind the player who sacrificed everything to challenge the reserve clause is a bit disconcerting and makes it tougher to root for his success, but I still come to respect Flood’s decision and courage to see the case all the way through. The inside look at the entirety of the Flood v. Kuhn legal proceedings told in such a reader-friendly style was perhaps my favorite thing about this sporting biography. Whether it was Babe Ruth introducing the aura of the home run or Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson introducing baseball to African-American ballplayers, individuals are capable of influencing great change in the national pastime, including in the case of Curt Flood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe Strnad

    Must read for serious historic baseball fans. Immensely well researched book about the history of organized baseball and the legal challenges to MLB's anti-trust exemption. Brad Snyder goes deep on Curt Floods opposition to the controversial reserve clause. Snyder details Flood's meetings with the MLB Players' Association union president Marvin Miller, his suit in Federal court in NYC, and eventual appeal to the Supreme Court. Snyder provides a lot of legal details, so it helps if the reader has Must read for serious historic baseball fans. Immensely well researched book about the history of organized baseball and the legal challenges to MLB's anti-trust exemption. Brad Snyder goes deep on Curt Floods opposition to the controversial reserve clause. Snyder details Flood's meetings with the MLB Players' Association union president Marvin Miller, his suit in Federal court in NYC, and eventual appeal to the Supreme Court. Snyder provides a lot of legal details, so it helps if the reader has good understanding of legal terms and procedures. After setting up the legal case, Snyder then shows how irrationally the Supreme Court justices became because this case dealt with baseball. Curt Flood sacrificed his career because he objected to being treated like a piece of property. He was strongly influenced by Jackie Robinson and the Civil Rights movement. It would be difficult to measure the impact of his sacrifice, but all professional athletes who are paid big bucks owe a big thanks to Flood.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Sinner

    2006 Dave Moore Award Winner 2006 CASEY Award Nominee 2007 Seymour Medal Finalist Briefly: Both personal and grand A Well-Paid Slave is an easy read, weaving a mix of personal, biographic history—for Curt Flood as well as those whose own stories intersected with his—with a grand examination of the machinations of the Supreme Court and the politics and legal battles surrounding the reserve clause. Snyder intertwines both lenses masterfully, without ever growing bogged down in either. Perhaps the book 2006 Dave Moore Award Winner 2006 CASEY Award Nominee 2007 Seymour Medal Finalist Briefly: Both personal and grand A Well-Paid Slave is an easy read, weaving a mix of personal, biographic history—for Curt Flood as well as those whose own stories intersected with his—with a grand examination of the machinations of the Supreme Court and the politics and legal battles surrounding the reserve clause. Snyder intertwines both lenses masterfully, without ever growing bogged down in either. Perhaps the book’s sole flaw is that it does, especially as the book moves toward its conclusion, become a tad preachy; for a well-researched book that so successfully tells Flood’s story through the perspectives of his contemporaries, it might have been a stronger ending to leave the preaching to those who knew him. Nevertheless, this is a minor quibble in what is no doubt the authoritative account of Curt Flood’s life and effect upon the game of baseball.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo E Llamozas

    It was a hard, interesting read. Great to learn about Flood's suit, and of his life before, and after it. Not much of actual baseball in it, understandably, but it did take some effort to complete most of the segments in/about court. Perhaps it's because Snyder is a lawyer himself, and took his time detailing the proceedings, and describing the protagonists. Flood was a proud man, a stubborn man, and a damaged man. His fight gave so much to baseball, and not just to baseball players. He should be It was a hard, interesting read. Great to learn about Flood's suit, and of his life before, and after it. Not much of actual baseball in it, understandably, but it did take some effort to complete most of the segments in/about court. Perhaps it's because Snyder is a lawyer himself, and took his time detailing the proceedings, and describing the protagonists. Flood was a proud man, a stubborn man, and a damaged man. His fight gave so much to baseball, and not just to baseball players. He should be recognized in a more dignified way, better known. Same as Buck O'Neil or Felipe Rojas Alou, he has a deserving spot in Cooperstown, but current voting procedures have no way of letting him in. He was so much more than a ballplayer, and you can't measure him as a ballplayer to try to elect him. Miller is in, let Flood follow him there as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lee (Rocky)

    This is a really interesting book about Curt Flood's lawsuit against Major League Baseball to try to undo the reserve clause, which laid the groundwork for free agency in sports. There is a little baseball in the book but I think it would be a good read for anyone interested in labor issues or in legal histories. The writing occasionally gets in the way as the author is fond of a few techniques that get repeated (example: long description of some incident where someone is left unnamed for a whil This is a really interesting book about Curt Flood's lawsuit against Major League Baseball to try to undo the reserve clause, which laid the groundwork for free agency in sports. There is a little baseball in the book but I think it would be a good read for anyone interested in labor issues or in legal histories. The writing occasionally gets in the way as the author is fond of a few techniques that get repeated (example: long description of some incident where someone is left unnamed for a while before dramatically revealing the name of some famous person) and of hyperbole (late in the book he makes the claim that most contemporary baseball players have no idea who Jackie Robinson is). Those small criticisms aside, I got what I wanted from reading it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rob Pruden

    I was a big St. Louis Cardinal fan in the 1960's and Curt Flood was right up there with Gibson and Brock in my highest esteem. This book covers his life full of ups and downs very well and gives great insight into the court process along the way. I am so glad that Flood was able to live his final decade sober and happy being able to embrace the appreciation from the professional athletes how benefited from his sacrifices. I highly recommend this book I was a big St. Louis Cardinal fan in the 1960's and Curt Flood was right up there with Gibson and Brock in my highest esteem. This book covers his life full of ups and downs very well and gives great insight into the court process along the way. I am so glad that Flood was able to live his final decade sober and happy being able to embrace the appreciation from the professional athletes how benefited from his sacrifices. I highly recommend this book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe DiLeo

    I love baseball and when I saw this on a shelf at the library, my first thought was, "a book about Curt Flood? Why?" I was only familiar with his story in the most primitive sense and this book blew me away with the depth the author goes into by not only explaining the baseball end of things, but the business and racial ramifications of the story. Very well done. I love baseball and when I saw this on a shelf at the library, my first thought was, "a book about Curt Flood? Why?" I was only familiar with his story in the most primitive sense and this book blew me away with the depth the author goes into by not only explaining the baseball end of things, but the business and racial ramifications of the story. Very well done.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zach Zagger

    Excellent history of former St. Louis Cardinals great Curt Flood's lawsuit challenging baseball's reserve clause and its antitrust exemption. Goes into history of the baseball antitrust exemption and the Supreme Court. Interesting read for baseball fans and lawyers alike, especially lawyers who are baseball fans. Excellent history of former St. Louis Cardinals great Curt Flood's lawsuit challenging baseball's reserve clause and its antitrust exemption. Goes into history of the baseball antitrust exemption and the Supreme Court. Interesting read for baseball fans and lawyers alike, especially lawyers who are baseball fans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Fantastic read! Such wonderful legal insight told from a lawyer’s point of view and understanding of the Supreme Court and the process of the case, Snyder tells a great, yet heartbreaking at times, story of Curt Flood’s fight for free agency. If you are a fan of baseball and appreciate the history of the game, then this is a must read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Roper

    The content is well-researched and a must-read for fans of baseball and, well, those unconvinced of the sh*ttiness of Americans. I found it hard to read, 99% because the content made me sad and mad, but also 1% due to the story flow feeling more like a law brief, rather than a story. Still, would recommend. I personally know next to nothing about baseball and still found it a worthwhile read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rosster Montreal

    I wish NCAA Men's Basketball Final 4 teams would read this and not come out of the dressing room for the final game until they get a written contract to be paid for their services in this multi-billion dollar industry of college basketball. I wish NCAA Men's Basketball Final 4 teams would read this and not come out of the dressing room for the final game until they get a written contract to be paid for their services in this multi-billion dollar industry of college basketball.

  22. 4 out of 5

    This is V!

    The story of Curt Flood,a man that allowed this young generation of Baseball players to be free. A book that tells you all about his fights so that he is not forgotten

  23. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    A fascinating look at an under appreciated trailblazer in sports history. This hit the intersection of my interests in sports and the Supreme Court beautifully. Great read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris Theule-VanDam

    Everyone in America should know Curt Flood's story. Thank you, Brad Snyder for writing it. Everyone in America should know Curt Flood's story. Thank you, Brad Snyder for writing it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    It's a great story of what Curt Flood did for baseball and sports in general, but I didn't prefer the style of writing. Brad Snyder seemed to jump around, digging into the lives of the people involved in this story, going on tangents that left me lost on the point he was trying to make. I did not know of Curt Flood before I read this book, but I really enjoyed his sacrifice and the level of detail that described Curt Flood's involvement in his fight. It's a great story of what Curt Flood did for baseball and sports in general, but I didn't prefer the style of writing. Brad Snyder seemed to jump around, digging into the lives of the people involved in this story, going on tangents that left me lost on the point he was trying to make. I did not know of Curt Flood before I read this book, but I really enjoyed his sacrifice and the level of detail that described Curt Flood's involvement in his fight.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lane

    A good biography of Curt Flood but an excellent history of his law suit to over turn the reserve clause. A great story of following your belief of right. A nice insight also into the supreme court.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    If you like baseball and the Supreme Court this book is for you. Brad Snyder, a former reporter in Baltimore and DC lawyer took time off to write this book in 2006, his second book. Interestingly, his third and newest book just came out recently and it is more about politics in the early 20th century. I plan to read it. Well what has this multi-career person and talented writer been doing between the second and third books? I found online that he is an associate law professor at UW in Madison ( h If you like baseball and the Supreme Court this book is for you. Brad Snyder, a former reporter in Baltimore and DC lawyer took time off to write this book in 2006, his second book. Interestingly, his third and newest book just came out recently and it is more about politics in the early 20th century. I plan to read it. Well what has this multi-career person and talented writer been doing between the second and third books? I found online that he is an associate law professor at UW in Madison ( his fourth career!). I hope he spends more time writing books instead of law review articles. His book on Curt Flood's fight v. MLB and the reserve clause contains both detailed baseball facts and detailed inner workings of the Supreme Court deliberations over this case. His resources and research were extremely meticulous. A well done effort and worth your time. It should be required reading for today's big league players so they can better appreciate why they enjoy the lifestyles they earn as major leaguers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gary Schantz

    As the book mentions several times, current ball players and fans have mostly forgotten about this man and his fight to be free of the reserve clause which entitled a sports team to do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. I must admit that I had no idea about who Curt Flood was and what his story was all about as well. Without going into all the details of his challenge to Major League Baseball, the sad is fact is that without him there would have been no free-agenc As the book mentions several times, current ball players and fans have mostly forgotten about this man and his fight to be free of the reserve clause which entitled a sports team to do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. I must admit that I had no idea about who Curt Flood was and what his story was all about as well. Without going into all the details of his challenge to Major League Baseball, the sad is fact is that without him there would have been no free-agency. Now for some fans, this is not necessarily a good thing due to contracts like Alex Rodriguez's $250 million. However the point of Flood's fight was that he should be allowed a say in where he traded and when he is traded especially when you consider that after playing in one place for 12 years with great numbers to back up your argument that you are more than just a piece of property. However, as afar as the legal matters go and how they are handled, this book points how shallow and self-righteous the Supreme Court can be. The whole stare decisis argument is about the stupidest legal point the Supreme Court has ever used to excuse their own mistakes when deciding cases. Also the politics of the Supreme Court are shameful in light of the fact that the Court was created to be without judgment of who is right but rather what is right. I believe this is best argument for term limits for Supreme Court judges...we don't need to have someone sitting on a court for years pushing their own agenda instead of deciding cases based on the argument of a case as a whole. The fact that Curt Flood's argument was shown to be correct in the many years after the Supreme Court voted against him simply showed the Court had no depth nor foresight in regards to the affect of their decision. They simply blamed Congress for not correcting the problem and, for this, Curt Flood lost his career, his chance at being in the hall of fame, or ever being remembered as one of the greats of the game.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    This book was written by a former lawyer, and it reads like it. It's meticulously detailed, with a bibliography and index that span more than 100 pages. At times, the exhaustive recitation of facts feels dispassionate and removed from its subject - until it dawns on you that the author cared so much about Curt Flood's story that he spared no effort to create the definitive record of Flood's fight for free agency, and help to secure Flood the place in baseball history that the business of basebal This book was written by a former lawyer, and it reads like it. It's meticulously detailed, with a bibliography and index that span more than 100 pages. At times, the exhaustive recitation of facts feels dispassionate and removed from its subject - until it dawns on you that the author cared so much about Curt Flood's story that he spared no effort to create the definitive record of Flood's fight for free agency, and help to secure Flood the place in baseball history that the business of baseball denied him for so long. Although Flood's story closely parallels Jackie Robinson's in many ways, Flood's flight for economic justice isn't endowed with the same obvious sense of moral righteousness as Robinson's quest to break baseball's color barrier. At its core, it was a fight for the right to choose what teams to play for (and not play for), and for the right to let a fair market determine a player's value. Not exactly Brown vs. Board of Education. But Robinson's and Flood's stories are not two different stories; they are two acts of the same story. Robinson fought for the right to prove that the only consideration of whether or not someone should be allowed to play major league baseball is whether or not they have the ability to compete at that level. Flood demanded that a player's worth be determined solely by the value that they can provide to a team in a fair and legitimately competitive market. Without both men, baseball players would not enjoy the benefits of the meritocracy that the sport was forced into becoming, ultimately for the benefit of players, fans and ownership alike. Curt Flood's story is an important story, and it deserves the exhaustive documentation that Snyder gives it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adam Henig

    Curt Flood’s life story was complicated. His biographer would need more than a solid grounding in baseball. As Brad Snyder demonstrated in his definitive work, "A Well Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports," it required a legal background (which Snyder has) and familiarity with the personalities and politics of the United States Supreme Court justices, specifically the Burger Court. "A Well Paid Slave" skillfully weaved together Flood’s shortened baseball career, Curt Flood’s life story was complicated. His biographer would need more than a solid grounding in baseball. As Brad Snyder demonstrated in his definitive work, "A Well Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports," it required a legal background (which Snyder has) and familiarity with the personalities and politics of the United States Supreme Court justices, specifically the Burger Court. "A Well Paid Slave" skillfully weaved together Flood’s shortened baseball career, his personal life (including demons) and the legal drama he is most remembered for. The story was so complex, Snyder discovered, that the author quit his day job at a law firm to complete the book. (Fortunately, he found work as a law professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he currently teaches). Indeed, it is the legal battle that makes "A Well Paid Slave" different than any other book about America’s national pastime. Snyder vividly recreated the behind-the-scenes meetings of Flood, Marvin Miller (the player’s union rep) and the former United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg (Flood’s lead attorney, who worked pro-bono) and their not-so-well-thought-out-plan to sue Major League Baseball (MLB). A lawsuit ensued, concluding at the nation’s highest court, which ultimately did not go Flood’s way. Following the Court’s decision, Flood’s life went into a downward spiral, but he eventually found solace before his premature passing–due to a lifelong struggle with alcoholism—at the age of 59. Although Flood may not have benefited monetarily from his quest to take on MLB, his legacy has been cemented not only in baseball, but in all of sports. And Brad Snyder showed us why.

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