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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Giants 3: As noted last night, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his first career homer and it was a shot. Later in the game, however, he hit his second home run — with two men on base — and it was even a longer shot. The first one went 438 feet, the second: 451. Guerrero finished with three hits and four RBI. All that the same ballpark where Vlad Guerrero Sr. won the Home Run Debry back in 2007.

Watch these blasts:

Welcome to the bigs, kid.

Rockies 5, Red Sox 4: As Bill noted last night, Chris Sale struck out 17 Rockies in seven innings. After he left, Red Sox relievers added seven more in the next three innings for a total of 24 through the top of the 10th inning. With no walks! But the game was still going, tied at four, and that momentum would not hold up in the 11th. That’s when Ryan Brasier came in, walked two batters and gave up a go-ahead single to Mark Reynolds and the run held up. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit two-run homers in regulation for the Rockies previous four runs. Boston’s four came on homers from Michael Chavis, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers plus a Mitch Moreland RBI single in the eighth.

Is there anything more 2019 baseball than a team striking out 24 times and winning?

Indians 9, White Sox 0: Carlos Carrasco tossed seven shutout frames and three relievers handled the final two. More importantly, the moribund Indians’ offense finally woke the heck up, hitting five homers, with Jordan Luplow going deep twice and knocking in three in all. Now if only they can face the White Sox and Manny Bañuelos every time out. Luplow has hit three of his four 2019 homers off of him.

Cubs 3, Reds 1: Kyle Hendricks was damn nigh untouchable again, allowing only one run on three hits over eight. He also hit a two-run double to give the Cubs their first two runs and singled twice. Hendricks has won all three of his starts in May, allowing only one earned run in 25 innings. The Cubs are 10-2 on the month so far. They’ve won 22 of 28 overall. Remember way back in April when Joe Maddon was supposedly on the hot seat? Seems like a thousand years ago.

Mets 6, Nationals 2: Speaking of hot seats, Dave Martinez’s Nationals gave their fans another uninspiring performance. Let’s see how they’re taking it:

Given how this one started it’s understandable to feel that way. The Nats had two outs in the first inning with a runner on, Wilmer Difo threw away a tailor-made double play ball to extend the inning and then former Nats catcher Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam. From there Noah Syndergaard took a no-hitter into the sixth to help extinguish any remaining hope Washington fans harbored. The Nats lost for the 11th time in 15 games and have only the truly wretched Marlins to thank for not owning the worst record in the National League.

Brewers 6, Phillies 1: Yasmani Grandal hit a three-run homer in the second and Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the third to put this one away pretty early. In case there was any doubt of that, Brewers’ starter Brandon Woodruff gave up only one hit in six shutout innings, working around five walks. Bryce Harper hurt himself making a sliding catch into the wall in foul territory, stayed in the game and then made another catch just like it to end the inning, gaining a standing ovation from the Philly crowd. Two innings later he struck out and got booed. The Philly crowd rides an emotional roller coaster not unlike that my kids rode when they were toddlers.

Astros 11, Tigers 4: Not gonna say Houston is on a roll, but the Astros have won seven games in a row and have scored 61 runs in those games for an 8.7 run/game average. Carlos Correa hit a first inning homer — a three-run shot — George Springer hit an inside-the-park homer and Aledmys Díaz went deep as well. Like so many inside-the-parkers, Springer’s was premised on a bad bounce and, his hustle aside, there wasn’t even a play at the plate:

Most overrated allegedly exciting play in baseball. Beats out the “stealing home” play in which it’s really a delayed double steal with runners on the corners and the catcher gets deked into firing it down to second.

Rays 4, Marlins 0: Charlie Morton tossed six shutout innings to improve his record to 4-0 and lower his ERA to 2.32. Avisail Garcia homered, had three hits in all and drove in three. Not bad for a day in which the Rays, due to weather issues the night before, had to wake up at 5:30AM for a morning flight to Miami.

Cardinals 14, Braves 3: One of the reasons the Braves didn’t upgrade their rotation in the offseason was because they believed, not unreasonably, that Mike Foltynewicz was a serviceable ace and the young pitching depth they possess would carry them the rest of the way. That last part has been mostly born out this year but the first part ain’t happening. Foltynewicz began the year on the injured list and has been dreadful since being activated. here he was torched for eight runs on seven hits and couldn’t make it out of the fifth to balloon his ERA to 8.02. He’s allowed eight homers in 21.1 innings across four starts, including three here to Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina. Kolten Wong added a later three-run shot. In 2018 Foltynewicz allowed only 17 in 183 innings.

Twins 4, Angels 3: Twins catcher Mitch Garver has been a big reason for Minnesota’s early season success, and he continued to produce when he hit a two-run homer to help the Twins to an early lead. But he left the game late with an ankle sprain after making a nice play at the plate to put out a sliding Shohei Ohtani and prevented the tying run. It’s unclear how long he’ll be out but not a good thing for the Twinkies. Ohtani had three hits, including an RBI single in a losing cause.

Royals 11, Rangers 5: The Royals scored nine times in the first two innings to make this one a laugher for everyone except Rangers starter Shelby Miller. Hunter Dozier drove in three, and Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler drove in two each. Miller has a 9.51 ERA on the season and opposing batters are hitting .317 off of him. Call me crazy, but I’m thinking he’s not gonna be long for the Texas rotation. Nicky Lopez, the Royals’ rookie second baseman making his big league debut, got his first hit and first RBI in the bigs in the seventh inning.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 2: Josh Bell homered twice, driving in four, Cole Tucker hit a two-run homer and Joe Musgrove allowed only one hit over seven shutout innings. Bell extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and it hasn’t been a single-a-night affair: he’s batting .421 over that span with seven doubles, six home runs and 21 RBI.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Manny Machado came back to Dodger Stadium was booed heavily but had himself a nice night anyway, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer. That was about all that went right for the Padres, though, as rookie phenom Chris Paddack was touched for six runs — three earned — in four and two-thirds and surrendering homers to Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger. Bellinger knocked in three on the night. Clayton Kershaw, now relying on craftiness over dominance, pitched seven innings, allowing three, and picked up his third win of the year.

Mariners 4, Athletics 3: The M’s got solo homers from Daniel Vogelbach and Tim Beckham in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fifth inning from Mitch Haniger to break a 2-2 tie and give Seattle its winning margin. Mike Leake was effective for six innings but got into some trouble in the seventh, allowing a run to make it 4-3. Cory Gearrin relieved him and promptly put two men on but Roeins Elías put out the fire.

Orioles vs. Yankees — POSTPONED:

You and me and rain on the roof
Caught up in a summer shower
Dryin’ while it soaks the flowers
Maybe we’ll be caught for hours
Waitin’ out the sun
You and me were gabbin’ away
Dreamy conversation sittin’ in the hay
Honey, how long was I laughing in the rain with you
‘Cause I didn’t feel a drop ’til the thunder brought us to

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.