Generations of ballplayers -- Curt Flood's children -- have never honored him properly. But with his fine book, Brad Snyder surely has.
Snyder has done excellent reporting on the complicated man . . .
Part of the entertainment in A Well-Paid Slave is the cast of supporting characters: Marvin Miller, who, as head of the players' association, recognized Flood's character and persuaded the union to back him; Arthur Goldberg, the hopelessly long-winded but well-meaning former Supreme Court justice who tried to act as Flood's attorney while simultaneously running for governor of New York; and the rest of Flood's legal team, particularly Jay Topkis and Allan Zerman, who did most of the legal heavy lifting.
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Much as Flood sacrificed money for principle, Snyder left a legal career to undertake this project without a publisher. Anyone with a sociological interest in American sport should be glad he did.
Writing with dispatch and grace, he places Flood's challenge to baseball squarely where it belongs, as the final radical act of the 1960s civil rights movement.
Mr. Snyder's "A Well-Paid Slave" is an absorbing -- and long overdue -- look at Curt Flood's life and influence.
Snyder provides a robust and poignant understanding of the turmoil that Flood suffered.
Today's players should be thanking Curt Flood.
Most sportswriters at the time attacked his assertion that the reserve clause made him feel like a slave. When Howard Cosell asked him how someone earning $90,000 a year, one of the top salaries in the game at the time, could feel like a slave, he responded, "A well-paid slave is nonetheless a slave."
Flood is subject of a terrific new book that takes its title from that interview: "A Well-Paid Slave."
In A Well-Paid Slave, Brad Snyder, a lawyer who once covered the Orioles for The Sun, weaves together a sympathetic biography of Flood and a lucid, meticulously detailed analysis of his lawsuit. At the Supreme Court in 1972, Snyder shows, the case was a cliffhanger.
Snyder masterfully recounts Flood's long and lonely legal fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court and helped establish free agency in baseball and other team sports.
The best sports book I read all year was "A Well-Paid Slave," the warts-and-all biography of Curt Flood, who challenged baseball's reserve clause, lugged it all the way to the Supreme Court, and lost.
It's a fascinating book about a flawed man and a beautiful game, too often corrupted by the men who run it.
His dignity, chronicled in a new book by Brad Snyder, "A Well-Paid Slave," was apparent even in the aftermath of his World Series stumble.
"Bitterly sipping champagne in the clubhouse after the game," Snyder writes, "Flood accepted full responsibility for his team's defeat."
Six stories for the stockings
Snyder is a lawyer, and the bulk of this book is a play-by-play of the Flood litigation. Happily, the book is not too inside baseball and is, for the lay reader, borderline jaw-dropping.
Brad Snyder, a Washington, D.C. lawyer, who gave up his legal career to tell Flood's story in “A Well-Paid Slave,” does so in a moving and detailed way.
Snyder's account of the Supreme Court's machinations and ultimate ruling against Flood rivals the scenes in Bob Woodward's The Brethren .
Brad Snyder tells the sad and dark story of Flood's battle with the courts, alcohol and baseball.
Brad Snyder, once a baseball reporter and then a lawyer, found his ideal subject in Curt Flood.
Vastly more substantial than ordinary jock fare, this book should appeal to the serious reader of legal and/or general American history who has little knowledge or interest in baseball per se . It's that good.
Few people have the special expertise required to write the life of Curt Flood because much of Flood's historical import comes from his lawsuit's prominence and his complex personality. Flood's biographer needs legal expertise to understand and represent his court case properly and he should have the critical honesty to portray Flood as a highly courageous yet deeply flawed person. Brad Snyder's biography of Flood, A Well Paid Slave does this with dexterity and honesty.
Curt Flood took a stand for not only himself, but for future generations of athletes.
The most recent book, "A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports," by Brad Snyder, is an extraordinarily rich tale of a conflicted man who made a difference in the world.
Snyder does a particularly good job in telling the story of how Supreme Court opinions are reached and written. His skilled analysis of the justices' notes and drafts gives the reader a sense of these people's perspectives and how they arrive at their decisions.
Brad Snyder's "A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports" (Viking) is an effective argument for a reconsideration of the man and his struggle.
Those interested in the legal inner workings, the reasoning behind the lack of player support for the plaintiff, and how the battle led to binding arbitration, free agency, and the 10-and-five rule will supremely enjoy "A Well-Paid Slave."
Snyder draws a portrait of a complex man whose idealism helped change professional sports but at the same time led to a personal disintegration.
It was no accident that two of the most prominent American Jews of the 20th century -- former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and baseball great Hank Greenberg -- were involved in Curt Flood's 1970 suit against Major League Baseball, which not only revolutionized baseball, but all American professional sports, as well.
2006 Holiday Sports Gifts
Memories of Flood
"A Well-Paid Slave" is not just a sports book. It's courtroom drama and a lesson in American sports law. One does not have to be a sports fan to find this book well worth reading.
Tirelessly researched and amply notated, A WELL-PAID SLAVE should be required reading for every ballplayer as a reminder of the sacrifices made by one man so that they could enjoy the rich rewards of their own labor.
Brad Snyder's book, “Well Paid Slave,” is an excellent tribute to Flood's life and courage, though his challenge left him penniless and broken.
Though I haven't finished the book and therefore can't really call this a review, especially since I mean this piece to be more about Flood than Snyder's book, I recognize its merit and salute its author. If you want to know more about Flood, you might pick it up.
Brad Snyder, a lawyer and writer from Washington, D.C., brings Flood's incredible story to life. . . . With any luck, some of today's major leaguers will read it.
For historians of baseball or for those who want a book that delves into business or legal matters in an engaging way, A Well Paid Slave certainly fits the bill.
Snyder's account gives Flood his well-earned due and also details a critical period in the history of American sport.
This account both serves to explain why Flood was "serious about sacrificing his playing career to sue baseball" and helps reposition Flood as a successor to Jackie Robinson's "lifelong battle against injustice."
A welcome addition to baseball history, especially given that Flood's battle is now all but unknown.
"Curt Flood was a man of intellect, integrity, and courage. It is both surprising and disappointing that his life and contributions are so little understood and appreciated today. Brad Snyder's book may help rectify that."
"If we measure idealism by what the individual is willing to sacrifice on its behalf, Curt Flood's life is an essay on the cost of applied idealism. Brad Snyder shows why Flood was Dred Scott in spikes."
"Curt Flood's fight against the illegal, monopoly practices of baseball (and other) team owners is still a captivating story. Here is the most comprehensive biography of Flood; a sensitive depiction of how he became an outstanding athlete and a man with the necessary determination and integrity to take on the major league baseball owners, the established rulers of the game. The author, Brad Snyder, also has provided a knowledgeable analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court's three failures spanning more than half a century of antitrust lawsuits against the unregulated baseball monopoly."
"Why would a man give away a career that is the dream of millions of men? To change the game that he loved. Brad Snyder shows how and why Curt Flood had a greater impact on baseball than any other player of our time. It's a wonderful tale."
"Sports Illustrated recently devoted most of a page to a review of former Sun sportswriter Brad Snyder's new book about Curt Flood. The title is "A Well-Paid Slave."
"A Well-Paid Slave by Brad Snyder (Viking). Billed as the first extended treatment of the subject, the book tells the story of St. Louis centerfielder Curt Flood and his famous 1970 lawsuit that ruined his career but revolutionized baseball. By killing off the "reserve clause," he paved the way for today's free-agent millionaires."