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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

Flood and Mcgee Honored

Cardinal greats Willie McGee and the late Curt Flood will be among seven athletes honored this Friday in San Jose at the annual African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (link) induction ceremony. Flood played for the Cards from 1958-1971, and McGee played for the team from 1982-1990 with a second stint from 1996-1999. Both Bay Area natives, they were indispensable parts of the the Cardinal dynasties of the 1960s and 1980s. I loved watching McGee (and the whole team) play in the 80s, and his 1985 MVP season was extra special to see as an awe-struck 9-year-old. When I went off to college, I didn't pay much attention to baseball for few years as other things captured my attention. McGee's return in 1996 played a big part in rediscovering the joy baseball brought me. While I never saw Flood play, I admired him as much as any player from his era because of his willingness to stand up for what was right when tradition was being used as the reason for treating players like team property. He brought the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s into baseball.
"I guess you really have to understand who that person, who that Curt Flood was. I'm a child of the sixties, I'm a man of the sixties. During that period of time this country was coming apart at the seams. We were in Southeast Asia. Good men were dying for America and for the Constitution. In the southern part of the United States we were marching for civil rights and Dr. King had been assassinated, and we lost the Kennedys. And to think that merely because I was a professional baseball player, I could ignore what was going on outside the walls of Busch Stadium was truly hypocrisy and now I found that all of those rights that these great Americans were dying for, I didn't have in my own profession."
Curt Flood
Congrats to both players. You'll always be hall of famers to us Cardinals fans.
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