St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 1-7

photo: Matt Carpenter (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Carpenter finalist for Hank Aaron Award

Matt Carpenter has been named the St. Louis Cardinals’ nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall hitter in each league.  Voting for the award is currently underway and runs through the end of the day on Monday, October 8.

The annual event began in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s breaking of Babe Ruth’s home run record.  In addition to fan voting, a panel of Hall of Fame players and Aaron himself also vote.

Only one Cardinal has won the award in the National League – Albert Pujols in both 2003 and 2009.

Final Regular Season and Wild Card Standings

NL Central W L PCT GB E#
Milwaukee 96 67 0.589   —-
Chicago 95 68 0.583 1       E
St. Louis 88 74 0.543 7       E
Pittsburgh 82 79 0.509 12.5       E
Cincinnati 67 95 0.414 28       E
WC Standings W L GB E#
Chicago 95 68 Plus 4       —-
Colorado 91 72    —-       —-
St. Louis 88 74 3         E
Pittsburgh 82 79 8.5         E
Arizona 82 80 9         E

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals and pending free agent Adam Wainwright have had “general discussions” about his possible return for 2019, reports Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch

Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.

Paul DeJong (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Injury Report

SS Paul DeJong underwent surgery last week to remove a plate that had been inserted to promote healing of his fractured left hand earlier in the season.  DeJong is expected to have a normal offseason.

2B Kolten Wong has been prescribed rest rather than surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left knee. Favoring that knee is believed to be the cause of his subsequent hamstring problems that limited him in September.

Looking Ahead

While the 2018 postseason play continues without the Cardinals participating for the third consecutive season, the organization has yet to have its end of season press conference that had been an annual event.  No date has been set for the press conference, but one is expected to occur in the near future.

All off-season activities will begin after the World Series ends.  Pending free agents will become official free agents the day after the World Series.  Free agents can sign with any club beginning five days after the World Series.

The Cardinals’ pending free agents are Adam Wainwright, Bud Norris, Tyson Ross and Matt Adams.  Wainwright and the Cardinals are having conversations about a possible return for the right handed pitcher.  There have been no indications that the Cardinals are interested in re-signing the remaining three.

The non-tender deadline is November 30.  The Cardinals have five arbitration eligible players.  They are Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, Dominic Leone, Chasen Shreve and Greg Garcia.  Garcia is a possible non-tender candidate.

Rosters must be finalized on or about November 20 to prepare for the Rule 5 draft in December.  This of course means there will be subtractions from the 40-man to make room for players the Cardinals wish to protect.  The four pending free agents will come off the roster, absent one or more of them being re-signed for 2019.  Any non-tender candidates are also potential subtractions.

Blast from the Past

Now that the regular season is over, and the Cardinals are not in the postseason, the history segments will move to a series of articles about famous and infamous trades or signings by the Cardinals.  The first in this series is about a Cardinal whose trade is probably the most impactful trade in the history of major league baseball – not because of the trade itself, but because of its impact on the game.

Curt Flood (Associated Press photo)

I am of course talking about the trade of Curt Flood to the Philadelphia Phillies on October 7, 1969.  The historical significance is not who the Cardinals received in the trade or whether the trade was good or bad for either team.  The aftermath of the trade changed the game of baseball forever.

The Cardinals traded Flood to the Phillies along with Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, and Joe Hoerner, for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Jerry Johnson.  Flood refused to report to the Phillies, citing various reasons, including the belief of Flood, who was African American, that Phillies fans were racist.  Flood also cited his desire not to move to Philadelphia after 12 years in St. Louis.

Whatever the reasons for Flood’s refusal to report, Flood met with the head of the Players’ Union, Marvin Miller, and decided to pursue legal options to stop the trade.

What followed was the landmark case Flood v. Kuhn (407 U.S. 258) which was argued before the Supreme Court on March 20, 1972.  The case was an effort by Flood to attack Major League Baseball’s Reserve Clause, asserting that the provision violated anti-trust and labor laws.  Major League Baseball had operated under an exemption to the Antitrust Laws since 1922, when the Supreme Court decided Federal Baseball v. National League (259 U.S 200).  The Court in 1972 ruled against Flood and for Major League Baseball, citing the Federal Baseball case as precedent.  However, the court conceded that the antitrust exemption was based on tenuous grounds, and that baseball was indeed a part of interstate commerce.

The decision didn’t help Flood, but it propelled other players to challenge the Reserve Clause.  Three years later, the National Labor Relations Board, who claimed jurisdiction over baseball because of the ruling in the Flood case that baseball operated in interstate commerce, ruled in favor of free agency for two players.  Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally were granted free agency after they played out a year without signing new contracts.  This arbitrator’s decision is considered the beginning of baseball free agency.

Flood’s legacy continued with the Curt Flood Act of 1998, which declared that baseball was subject to the federal antitrust laws, and Major League Baseball’s 10/5 rule, called The Curt Flood Rule, which requires a player’s consent to a trade when the player has played for 10 years total and five years with his current club.

Flood never played a day for the Phillies.  After sitting out the 1970 season, Flood was traded to the Washington Senators in November 1970, but played in only 13 games before retiring from baseball.  He died of throat cancer on January 20, 1997.

Despite the huge impact Flood had on baseball and his legacy of putting the end of the Reserve Clause in motion, Flood has never been officially recognized for his contributions by an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  There are many who strongly believe both Flood and Marvin Miller deserve such recognition. (Flood was named to the Cardinals team Hall of Fame in its second class, in 2015.)

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