Judy Pace Flood visits Players Association

NEW YORK -- Judy Pace Flood, the widow of Curt Flood, who challenged baseball's reserve clause on behalf of his fellow players in a landmark lawsuit, visited the Players Association's office recently as part of the union's 50th anniversary celebration this year.

The vibrant former actress, who first met Flood in the mid-'60s following her appearance with Willie Mays on "The Dating Game" television show, took part in a video interview on April 6 as part of the union's ongoing history project and came to the MLBPA's office the following day for a reception with staff.

Executive director Tony Clark and special advisor Dave Winfield presented her with framed editions of a commemorative coin and stamp bearing Curt Flood's likeness during the reception, at which she met and shared stories with Players Association staffers. In addition to being an All-Star, Flood was a talented artist, and the image on the stamp, created by the MLBPA as an internal tribute to Flood, is a reproduction of a self-portrait.

During her interview, Judy Pace Flood recalled traveling to Puerto Rico with Flood in December 1969 to request support for his lawsuit, Flood v. Kuhn, from the Players Association's executive board, as well as discussing the case later that evening during dinner with the union's first executive director, Marvin Miller, and then-general counsel, Richard Moss.

"The vote to support Curt's lawsuit was unanimous," she said. "Curt went forward with the knowledge he had the full support of his peers."

Curt Flood, who died in 1997, ultimately lost the court case after taking it all the way to the Supreme Court, but it marked a turning point in the union's struggle to gain free-agency rights, heightening awareness among his fellow players and providing the impetus to eventually gain those rights through the union's collectively bargained grievance procedure.