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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 7, Red Sox 3: The Indians jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Rafael Devers homered twice, making it three homers in his last two games, and tying the score up at three. Then it was Edwin Encarnacion‘s turn to homer twice. He hit a two-run shot in the fifth to break that tie and added another two-run shot in the seventh to put Cleveland comfortably ahead. Trevor Bauer struck out 11 in six and two-thirds, allowing those Devers dingers and one to Andrew Benintendi, all solo shots. Cleveland has won four in a row.

Yankees 4, Mets 2: The Yankees bats have struggled in the second half, but last night Aarons Judge and Hicks and Gary Sanchez went deep. It was the 40th career homer for both Judge and Sanchez. Judge reached the mark in his 140th game and Sanchez in his 139th. Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes homered in a losing cause for the Mets.

Blue Jays 2, Rays 1: There aren’t a lot of games where all the scoring is confined to the first inning or two, but it seems like an inordinate number of them involve the Rays. Here Josh Donaldson hit a two-run shot for Toronto in the first, Wilson Ramos hit a solo shot for Tampa Bay in the second and the rest of the game was quiet, scoring wise. Nick Tepesch’s only flaw in six innings was that Ramos dinger and his counterpart Jake Odorizzi also went six, with Donaldson’s homer the only damage.

Marlins 8, Giants 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the first and later drove in a run with a single. That was his 43rd bomb, breaking Gary Sheffield’s franchise record for homers in a season and putting him on a 60-homer pace. That’s five straight games with a homer for Stanton. Since July 17, Stanton has 17 home runs. Since July 17 the Giants, as an entire teams, have 17 homers.

Rangers 6, Tigers 2Rougned Odor had three hits and scored three times, with the go-ahead run in the game coming on a safety squeeze:

Joey Gallo had another homer, his 33rd.

Cubs 15, Reds 5: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit homers, Rizzo drove in five, and Jon Jay had a single, double and a triple as the Cubs romped. My favorite play of the game, however, came from Joey Votto. With Chicago up 7-2 in the fifth inning, Joe Maddon tried something different, in an effort to stop the Reds’ big bat from getting extra bases: he played four outfielders, shifting Kris Bryant from third to join Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay and Jason Heyward. How did that go? Poorly, as Votto to proceed to double down the first base line:

With most hitters you’d say they got lucky, but Votto is the sort of player, in both skill and strategic thinking, that you figure made a point to try to specifically do that. And had the best shot of actually doing it.

Chad Bettis 1, Cancer 0: The Rockies also happened to beat the Braves 3-0, but the important thing in this game is that Chad Bettis came back from fighting cancer and, in his first start of the year, held the Braves them scoreless over seven innings. He didn’t get the W in the box score because his counterpart, Julio Teheran held Colorado scoreless while Bettis was still the pitcher of record, but the win he got was a lot more important.

Diamondbacks 2, Astros 0: Zack Greinke shut Houston out for six and two-thirds, striking out nine on five hits. He was backed by Ketel Marte doubling a run in the second and J.D. Martinez doubling in a run in the sixth. The Dbacks had eight hits in the game. Five of them were doubles.

Royals 6, Athletics 2: Kansas City held a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Cam Gallagher stepped up to the plate and socked a grand slam. It was his first career homer, so it’s all downhill from here I guess. Gallagher has spent a load of time in the minors, blocked by Sal Perez, so he’s played a lot with Jake Junis, the Royals starter who has also played a lot down on the farm. His bush league compadre allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with two strikeouts and no walks.

Orioles 11, Mariners 3: The O’s jumped on the M’s for a 7-1 lead by the top of the second inning and that was pretty much that. Tim Beckham hit the first pitch of the game out for a homer and Manny Machado hit a grand slam in the second. Machado in August: .355/.349/.694 five homers and 20 RBI.

Padres 7, Phillies 4Cory Spangenberg homered and had three hits in all, scoring three times. Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit two home runs, the first two of his career, in a losing cause. In other news, Spangenberg & Rhys would be a pretty good law firm name. It’s all in the rhythm with those things, really.

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.