Hall to Honor Curt Flood’s Legacy, World War II Players during Awards Presentation at HOF Weekend
Free Agency Pioneer Flood’s Contributions to be Honored on 45th Anniversary of Historic Supreme Court Case; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to Salute HOF Veterans
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will honor the contributions of a modern baseball pioneer’s legacy and salute the ballplayers who served during World War II with two special recognitions during the annual Awards Presentation at Hall of Fame Weekend, Saturday, July 25 in Cooperstown, New York.
The Museum will pay tribute to the legacy and contributions of former Reds, Cardinals and Senators outfielder Curt Flood, whose test of the reserve clause via the United States Supreme Court in 1972 laid the groundwork for the advent of free agency several years later. Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, will speak on behalf of Flood’s challenge of the system and contributions to the Supreme Court case that led to free agency.
The Museum will also recognize all the ballplayers who served in World War II, with United States Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaking on behalf of all military branches as America marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. More than 500 big leaguers joined the military during World War II, including Hall of Famers like Bob Feller, who enlisted in the Navy just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941; and Hank Greenberg, who re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 after being drafted and serving in the Army in 1941 before being honorably discharged on Dec. 5, 1941.
Thirty-seven Hall of Famers – more than 11 percent of all Hall of Fame members – served during World War II, including Luke Appling, Al Barlick, Yogi Berra, Willard Brown, Nestor Chylak, Mickey Cochrane, Leon Day, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Bobby Doerr, Bob Feller, Charlie Gehringer, Joe Gordon, Hank Greenberg, Billy Herman, Monte Irvin, Ralph Kiner, Bob Lemon, Ted Lyons, Larry MacPhail, Lee MacPhail, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Robin Roberts, Jackie Robinson, Red Ruffing, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Bill Veeck, Hoyt Wilhelm, Ted Williams and Early Wynn.
A three-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Flood petitioned the Court to allow him to choose his employer instead of being subject to a trade. While sitting out the 1970 season, the Court ruled against Flood in a 5-to-3 decision. Flood’s efforts inspired players Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to pick up the fight five years later when they challenged the reserve clause through the players’ right to binding arbitration in 1975. Flood passed away in 1997.
These two special recognitions will join the Museum’s annual presentation of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Dick Enberg, the television voice of the Padres, will receive the Frick Award. Tom Gage, who covered the Tigers for the Detroit News for 36 seasons, has been selected the Spink Award winner by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Now in its fifth year, the Awards Presentation takes place on Saturday, July 25, at 4:30 p.m., at historic Doubleday Field, the day before the 2015 Induction Ceremony.
Admission for the Awards Presentation is free. The one-hour ceremony precedes the Hall of Fame Parade of Legends, featuring Hall of Fame members in a Main Street parade through Cooperstown.
The Class of 2015 at the Hall of Fame features Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz, who were all elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January.
More than 50 Hall of Famers are scheduled to be in Cooperstown to honor the Class of 2015 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, honoring the four newest members, will be held Sunday, July 26, at 1:30 p.m. ET at the Clark Sports Center – located one mile south of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
For more information on Hall of Fame Weekend, please visit www.baseballhall.org/visit/hall-of-fame-weekend.