September 7, 2012

The Reds’ outfield that might have been

Chris Jaffe has great piece today in The Hardball Times about a trade that outshines even The Trade for suckiness.

Curt Flood baseball cardNot only did it rob the Reds of a player they would have been better off to have around, but it gave the opponent (the Cardinals) a pivotal piece in their success at the time (which is something you’d probably wouldn’t say about The Trade).

The year was 1957, and the player in question was a 19-year-old prospect named Curt Flood. They sent Flood to the Cardinals for three guys you probably never heard of: Marty Kutyna, Willard Schmidt, and Ted Wieand.

Those guys didn’t amount to much, but Flood “became a three time All-Star who received modest support in MVP voting a half-dozen times and was the greatest defensive outfielder of his generation. And the Cardinals would get virtually his entire career, during which he helped them win three pennants and two world titles in the 1960s.”

You’ll want to head over to The Hardball Times to check out the rest of the story about the outfield that might have been if the Reds had kept Flood around.

And his story goes beyond that. Flood played an instrumental part in the introduction of Free Agency. This post about his free agency battle is a year old, but 1) that length of time doesn’t seem very relevant when you’re talking about events in the 1950s, and 2) it’s where I swiped the picture from, so I want to give them some link love.

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