And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mariners 16, Padres 13: The Mariners were trailing 12-2 after five. The Mariners rallied in the sixth, plating five runs. That was a more or less conventional rally. Kyle Seager hit a bases-loaded, two-run single and then Dae-Ho Lee hit a three-run homer. Fine. A 12-7 lead for the Padres is still good, right? Then the seventh inning happened. Padres relievers loaded the bases, but they also got two outs. Then:

That’s right. Seven straight two-out RBI singles which plated nine runs. A two-inning, fourteen-run rally against a team which was called a “miserable failure” by its owner a couple of days ago. What do you think he’ll have to say about them today?

Reds 11, Rockies 4: Two homers for Eugenio SuarezZack Cozart and Adam Duvall also homered as the Royals take three of four.Jay Bruce tripled and doubled to drive in a pair of runs. Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story homered for the Rockies. My god Coors Field games are just a mess of ink.

Twins 6, Rays 4: A leadoff inside the park homer for Eduardo Nunez:

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Like most insider the park homers, Nunez had help from a fielder. In this case Brandon Guyer, who seemed like he wanted to spend some quality time with that baseball in the right field corner. Rappin’ with it. Trying to get down to the core of what makes that baseball that baseball. No judgments here, man. Oh, you need to go? OK, that’s cool. Next time you want to talk, mano a mano, you come see old Brandon, OK? Alright, I’ll throw you in towards the infield now.

Yankees 5, Tigers 4: The Yankees had a 5-1 lead after their half of the seventh and held off the Tigers who scored one run in each of the last three innings. Thank Didi Gregorius for heading off some of that rally. He fired a relay throw that nailed Justin Upton at the plate in the eighth and then started a slick double play that kept the Tigers’ ninth inning scoring to one run.

Marlins 4, Pirates 3Christian Yelich hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the 12th. He also doubled in Martin Prado to tie the game at 3 with two outs in the ninth. Hero of the game, I guess.

Indians 5, Royals 4: Francisco Lindor tied the game with a triple in the ninth then, moments later, came home to score on Mike Napoli‘s walkoff sac fly. The Royals had led 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth. Not quite a Mariners-Padres rally, but a rally all the same.

Brewers 4, Phillies 1: Jonathan Villar and Chris Carter homered and Chase Anderson allowed one run on three hits while striking out six in five and two-thirds. That’s seven straight losses for the Phillies and nine of 10. So I guess that little fairytale is over.

Orioles 12, Red Sox 7: The Orioles his seven homers.Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones each homered twice and Manny MachadoPedro Alvarez and Francisco Pena each hit one. The Red Sox starting pitching continues to be a disaster. This time Rick Porcello gave up five runs on six hits in five innings, surrendering three of those bombs. The bullpen stunk too — Noe Ramirez gave up two runs and Junichi Tazawa gave up three, with each allowing two homers– probably to make the rotation not feel so bad. That’s really nice of the bullpen.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 2: Yesterday, as this game was winding down, I wrote a post with the headline “Julio Urias Gets Pummeled by the Cubs.” People on Twitter gave me hell for saying he was “pummeled,” claiming that if I had seen the game instead of the box score I wouldn’t have said that. I’ll grant that, yeah, his defense let him down some and a lot of balls found holes, but you don’t get to claim that five earned runs in five innings, including three home runs, is anything less than bad. Sorry. The kid will be good one day, I bet, but I’m guessing he’s not walking around claiming he had a great day yesterday either, no matter what kind of semantical gloss you put on it.

Diamondbacks 3, Astros 0: Zack Greinke turned in his best start of the year, tossing seven shutout innings and striking out 11 while only giving up four singles. After that disaster of an early season he now has seven wins and the ERA is down to a quasi-respectable 4.29. Greinke said his slider was off, but . . .

“The swings they were taking it was acting like it was really good so I started throwing them more as the game went on”

Maybe it wasn’t inherently good Zack, but our sliders are what they pretend to be, so our sliders must be thrown like the pitches they pretend to be. I think Kurt Vonnegut said that.

Giants 6, Braves 0: Madison Bumgarner pitched shutout ball into the eighth while striking out 11. He also hit a big homer as Braves starter Aaron Blair gave up three of those. Bumgarner is 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA on the year and he said after this game that this is really the first time he’s put it all together all year. Wonder what his line would look like if he had been OK out of the gate. Scary.

This Day in Transaction History: Cardinals send two players to Phillies in lieu of Curt Flood

Curt Flood
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As a recurring column idea, Bill will expound upon one interesting transaction that occurred on a particular day in baseball history. It won’t always be the most exciting or most impactful transaction, but always something interesting. Feel free to share which transactions stand out to you in the comments.

. . .

The Cardinals and Phillies agreed to terms on a trade involving outfielder Curt Flood on October 7, 1969. The Cardinals sent Flood, Tim McCarver, Joe Hoerner, and Byron Browne to Philadelphia in exchange for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Jerry Johnson. Flood famously refused to report to the Phillies, citing the club’s poor record, stadium disrepair, and racist fans. Flood challenged baseball’s reserve clause, sitting out the 1970 season. On this day in 1970, the Cardinals sent Willie Montañez and Jim Browning to the Phillies in lieu of Flood.

The trade became one of baseball’s most famous and not because of the quality of players involved. Allen, Rojas, Montañez, McCarver, and Hoerner all had lengthy, productive major league careers. Allen, in fact, would go on to win an MVP Award. Browning was really the only player of the bunch that didn’t pan out, as he never exceeded Double-A before his career in baseball was finished in 1975 at the age of 23.

Baseball’s reserve clause tied players to their teams even when their contracts expired. That is why many well-known players in the 1960’s and prior spent their entire careers with one team. Their options were: accept the below-market salaries offered by their teams or sit out the season in protest.

The Major League Baseball Players Association wasn’t created until 1966, but the reserve clause was challenged prior to Flood. The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1922, in Federal Baseball Club v. National League, that the Sherman Antitrust Act did not apply to Major League Baseball. The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits in interstate commerce anticompetitive agreements and attempts to create monopolies. The Supreme Court maintained that the business of baseball did not qualify as interstate commerce as it pertains to the Sherman Antitrust Act. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, “The business is giving exhibitions of baseball, which are purely state affairs.”

New York Giants outfielder Danny Gardella sued then-commissioner Happy Chandler. Gardella was banned five years because he played in the Mexican League. He claimed that was an unfair use of monopolistic power and said that the 1922 Supreme Court ruling no longer applied given the exponential growth of the sport. Gardella ended up settling out of court.

The reserve clause was more seriously challenged in 1953 when Yankees minor league pitcher George Earl Toolson filed a lawsuit against the Yankees. Toolson spent the 1946-48 seasons with the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox in Louisville. He joined the Yankees in ’49, reporting to the Newark Bears. The Bears, however, dissolved, so Toolson was sent to the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate the next year. Toolson refused to report, saying that the reserve clause was a restraint of trade. Because the highly competitive Yankees had complete control over his career, he could not willingly play for another team that might afford him a better chance to realize his dream of pitching in the majors. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, reaffirmed the reserve clause.

All of that laid the groundwork for Flood and MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller to challenge the reserve clause when the outfielder refused to report to the Phillies. Flood said in a letter to commissioner Bowie Kuhn, “After 12 years in the Major Leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen.”

Aside from a very brief stint with the Washington Senators in 1971, this lawsuit ended Flood’s career in baseball. He was a terrific player, making the NL All-star squad three times, winning seven Gold Gloves, and winning two championships with the Cardinals in 1964 and ’67. From 1961-69, he accrued 39.2 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference. Only 12 players had more WAR in that span of time.

Sadly, Flood too was unsuccessful in challenging the reserve clause. Judge Irving Ben Cooper of the Southern District of New York denied Flood’s motion for a preliminary injunction, writing, “The game is on higher ground; it behooves every one to keep it there.” He also wrote that “the preponderance of credible proof does not favor elimination of the reserve clause.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit also dismissed Flood’s case, citing Federal Baseball Club v. National League and  Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc. as precedents. The Supreme Court upheld the rulings of the lower courts.

However, Flood and the MLBPA had made the most progress against the case to date. Miller finally nullified the reserve clause five years later when pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally argued that the reserve clause didn’t give team owners the right to renew player contracts year after year in perpetuity. The MLBPA filed a grievance on behalf of the two players and the case went before an arbitration panel. Peter Seitz, an arbitrator agreed upon by the two sides, ruled in favor of Messersmith and McNally. Major League Baseball appealed in the district court of Western Missouri, but Judge John Watkins Oliver upheld Seitz’s decision. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld Seitz. In 1976, the era of free agency began, allowing players with six years of service time to become free agents.

Despite Flood making arguably the greatest impact on the game of baseball, he is not in the Hall of Fame. It is not surprising, though the Hall of Fame is owned and operated by private interests, as the Hall has often taken an ownership-sided slant. It was not until very recently that Miller was elected to the Hall of Fame, in fact. In late February, 102 members of Congress sent a letter to the Hall of Fame urging Flood’s election. Thankfully, we don’t need the Hall of Fame to decide for us whether or not Flood made an impact. He most certainly did and every player who has signed a contract as a free agent in the time since has him to thank. Just ask Gerrit Cole.