January 20, 1997: 2 days after his 59th birthday, #CurtFlood
died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California after developing pneumonia.
Flood stopped smoking in 1979 and drinking in 1986 despite having been a heavy drinker and smoker for years. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1995, Flood was initially given a 90-95 percent chance of survival. He underwent radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and throat surgery, which left him unable to speak.
He was survived by his five children (Debbie, Gary, Shelly, Scott, and Curt Flood Jr.), a wife (actress Judy Pace), and her two daughters. Flood was interred in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood California.
Curt Flood was a #MajorLeagueBaseball
player who spent most of his career as a center fielder for the #StLouisCardinals
A defensive standout, he led the National League in putouts four times and in fielding percentage twice, winning Gold Glove Awards in his last seven full seasons from 1963 to 1969. He also batted over .300 six times and led the NL in hits (211) in 1964. He retired with the third most games in center field (1683) in NL history, trailing only Willie Mays and Richie Ashburn.
Flood became one of the pivotal figures in the sport's labor history when he refused to accept a trade following the 1969 season, ultimately appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although his legal challenge was unsuccessful, it brought about additional solidarity among players as they fought against baseball's reserve clause and sought free agency.
⚾Flood's legacy was acknowledged in Congress in 1997 via the Baseball Fans and Communities Protection Act of 1997. Numbered HR 21 (Flood's Cardinals uniform number) and introduced in the House of Representatives on the first day of the 105th Congress by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan), the legislation established federal antitrust law protection for major league baseball players to the same extent as provided for other professional athletes. Similar legislation, titled the Curt Flood Act of 1998 (SB 53) and sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), was introduced and passed in the Senate the following year.