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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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After you jump into the recaps, make sure you check out our rundown of trade deadlines winners and losers.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 14, Rays 7Jake Marisnick hit two homers and drove in four. He’s the Astros’ number nine hitter, folks. Derek Fisher homered, singled and doubled, driving in two. He’s a rookie, folks. Charlie Morton got the win, allowing two runs over six innings. He’s Charlie Morton, folks. The Astros can even beat you with their B-team.

Phillies 7, Braves 6Odubel Herrera hit a three-run shot to make it 4-0 in the third. Maikel Franco hit a solo shot. The Phillies are 5-0 since they began a series of trades that rid them of Jeremy Hellickson, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Howie Kendrick. The lesson I’m gonna choose to take from this: never let anyone tell you that wisdom and experience matters. Just go out and do your thing.

Red Sox 6, Indians 2:  Mookie Betts drove in three and Eduardo Nunez drove in two. Rookie Rafael Devers was 4-for-4 with a double and he singled in a run. He’s now 10-for-24 with two doubles and two homers in six big-league games. After the game he said, “sometimes out there I’ll close my eyes and make contact, and wherever it goes, that’s where it goes.” There are some life lessons to be found in there too, I suspect.

Yankees 7, Tigers 3: Luis Severino remains on a roll, allowing one run over five innings and striking out eight. The Yankees scored four in the fourth via two-run hits from Chase Headley and Todd Frazier. Aaron Judge homered in the fifth. Another lesson can be seen both here and in the Red Sox game. In Boston, Devers knocked in the guy whose acquisition was supposed to force his demotion in Eduardo Nunez. Here both Headley and the guy who was supposed to make him superfluous, Frazier, drove in runs. I think we can look at this and—-*16 ton weight falls on Craig’s head, ending this cosmic b.s. for the day*—

Orioles 2, Royals 1: Danny Duffy and Ubaldo Jimenez dueled for seven innings, each allowing one run while striking out six. In the ninth, Joakim Soria got got, however, as Caleb Joseph, Ruben Tejada and Craig Gentry all hit singles, with Gentry’s driving in Joseph for the walkoff win.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and, after giving up a single to Dee Gordon, made way for Sean Doolittle to close it out. Bryce Harper singled in the game’s only run in the sixth. Jose Urena pitched well for Miami in the loss, allowing only that lone run on three hits in eight innings of his own. The game lasted a mere two hours and twelve minutes.

Mariners 6, Rangers 4: This one was tied at four in the ninth inning when Robinson Cano singled in two. Leonys Martin drove in two as well. Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez combined to give up eight runs in eleven and a third innings. I’m so old when I remember that the two of them facing off would mean a pitchers duel.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 6: Toronto held a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, thanks in large part to Marco Estrada‘s one run, seven inning performance. At that point the Jays bullpen came into play and the White Sox’ bats woke up. Matt Davidson hit a two-run blast, Yolmer Sanchez hit a solo shot and Jose Abreu singled in a run in the eighth. In the ninth, Abreu singled in the tying run and Davidson singled in the winning run to complete the comeback and walk things off. It was Davidson’s second walkoff hit in as many days, as he homered to win the Sox-Indians game on Sunday.

Athletics 8, Giants 5: The A’s were down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Marcus Semien connected for a grand slam. Jed Lowrie had three hits and an RBI, Ryon Healy added a two-run single and Matt Joyce reached base four times and scored twice. The A’s won even though the guy who was supposed to start for them last night — Sonny Gray — got shipped to the Yankees befre the game. With this loss, the Giants now have the worst record, by winning percentage, in all of baseball.

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.