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Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights Hardcover – March 20, 2006

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Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights + A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Persea (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892553219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892553211
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,890,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Belth's biography of Curt Flood, a dynamic centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1960s, sheds light on an important player in baseball history. After signing a contract with the Cincinnati Reds out of high school in 1956, Flood began feeling racism's sting. These struggles, which included living and eating separately from his white teammates, turned Flood into a socially aware, defiant man. When he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969, Flood sacrificed his career and $90,000 paycheck and sued Major League Baseball, claiming that the reserve clause, which gave the owners perpetual control of a player's contract, was illegal. Belth, host of a Yankees fan blog, shines in the second half of the book, as Flood's clash with the owners and Major League Baseball becomes a conflict between nostalgia and antitrust laws that reaches the Supreme Court in 1972. Though Flood lost, the reverberations of the lawsuit were widespread. Still, Flood was accused by the press, fans and even some fellow ballplayers of ruining America's pastime, and he withdrew from the game and from life. Belth's final chapters capture the benefits and drawbacks of sacrificing oneself for the good of the whole. Photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Curt Flood was an outstanding center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s. His baseball career was cut short by conscience, not injury. When he was traded after the 1969 season, he refused to report to his new team and mounted a legal challenge to baseball's reserve clause, which bound a player to a team forever, unless the team chose to trade or release him. Flood sat out the 1970 season while the case wound its way to the Supreme Court, where he lost. But Flood's challenge eventually paved the way for what is now known as free agency, the vehicle that has made millionaires of even journeyman major leaguers. Belth's biography recounts Flood's modest youth, his minor-league stops in the Jim Crow south, and his stellar major-league career, homing in on the circumstances and personal characteristics that would lead him to the role of trailblazer. He retired from the game at the young age of 32, deeply hurt by the animosity he encountered, even among some of his shortsighted peers. An incisive portrait of an underappreciated baseball icon. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on April 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is only 202 pages long, but author Alex Belth has written a very interesting account of Curt Flood's career as a baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals in addition to the role he played in helping to grant players the free agency they enjoy today. Of course it was Flood's years with the Cardinals in the 1960's that distinguished him as one of the game's top flight players. After establishing himself with the Redbirds and having an art business in St. Louis Flood balked at a trade that sent him to the Philadelphia Phillies following the 1969 season. With the help of Marvin Miller and the Baseball Players' Association he decided to challenge baseball's right to trade him against his will. Although he ultimately lost the battle in the United States Supreme Court, this case provided the catalyst that ultimately gave free agency to players through the subsequent case involving Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally in which arbitrator Peter Seitz told baseball owners to come to an agreement with the players regarding the reserve clause. The game's owners refused to do this, Seitz made his ruling, and the reserve clause became a thing of the past. Although free agency came too late to help Curt Flood today's players owe a great debt of thanks to him for the role he played in making them the multi-millionaires they are today. This is a book that should be in any serious baseball fan's library.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Wallach on April 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The fans at the great stadium in the sky are doing continuous waves for Alex's compassionate, insightful and moving portrait of a real American hero, Curt Flood. Stepping Up is a thoroughly enjoyable read with a balanced view of the business of baseball and its relationship to world around it. Long live Curt Flood and his new biography!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on June 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was excited last fall when I found out a new book on the life of Curt Flood was going to be published. How disappointed I was after reading the thin biography by Alex Belth.

Belth does little new research in the life and times of Flood. He relies upon material about his career in baseball, his fight players' rights and an oftentimes misunderstood/controversial life off the field that was already available to the public.

What especially demonstrates a lack of material outside the lines is Belth's over-reliance of play-by-play concerning Flood's baseball exploits. Instead of analysis of the man on the field of play, Belth goes to the stats book to reduce valuable pages in this thin text to nothing more than a baseball almanac.

The book reads as if it is a draft of a screenplay instead of a true exploration of a multi-dimensional figure that Flood was as a person and player. If nothing else, this was yet another case of a black man waging a battle against a white-dominated institution for the betterment of many.

But, Flood is as much a historical figure in the rising tide of black's demanding justice from the white power structure as he is an employee willing to risk his career in a labor dispute. Belth fails to juxtaposition both issues for that time in U.S. history.

For those seeking a better read on Curt Flood, you'll need to seek out the book he penned in the 1970s, which is as much an exploration/opinions of those times as it is autobiography.

And I hope that the future will bring a biography that is truly a holistic exploration of Curt Flood.
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