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fb well you know that so interesting because we are predominately a small town in oregon and then to have the first black manager in baseball and the first black coach in basketball and epsom an outstanding athletes connects of such a small area clayton is it's really quite unusual and i don't imagine it because of the arm of the interest that adults had in the youngsters as
i grew up and one especially here is a white god who coached the first black manager in baseball and the first black coach in basketball and exerting it is a tribute really to the interest it really hadn't an indian kids as well they'll be from the ghetto i guess so we are all kind of protected therein you never really run into the kind of prejudice that do that you run into when you when you leave this little segregated area and how this wide gag it another go night after night of two to teach and to be apart well as it is of no idea that term it is really into sanders's to whether we're able to play baseball and basketball and what every year around that i guess is the need to get out of
there in one of the law the ways that we believe that we have over the escaping the ghetto is to sports and i am that was it was interesting but i had a chance to play oh eleven months earlier in oakland california and i guess actually much they're actually out of myself as you know work i guess if i had to draw a profile of me as that start with i really want to learn be it scholastic leader as well as an athlete and i was i could see that i was not into the lives of played football or paul have played basketball so that i chose baseball i was good student
i i am i have faced reality as much as i knew that there were many places in athletics for person and that it will never look at me i'm five foot ten and them i mean i knew that i would have to to do well in school ever wants to succeed at all so i've i really hit the books clayton iii right really he thought it necessary to do to do well in school and i did not neglect and i did not let athletics stand in the way of my getting good grades he i'm the youngest of six and we were lucky we had both are our parents my mom and dad live with this in the us we were fortunate for them to have jobs and we're fortunate for them to to lawless and too to be a part of our lives in
and there were clay was very fortunate i am to hear sixty youngest of six children and i'm very fortunate that we had our mom in bed together which is quite unusual nowadays and that i guess we were poor but we didn't we didn't have a lot to a lot of love and a lot of understanding from our parents we're they both worked very hard on father worked several jobs so that that we can have all things that utah important to us and then but i guess i was in a lot of trouble as much as a youngster
back in those days and very very fortunately an eye i saw the light early and i'm a straight my life out and got lots of going in the right direction and so it wasn't easy for us are parents and make a lot of money that they made sure we had all things that the kids in our peers had nothing more and again we go to west oakland and which word is the that part of the oakland where is ninety nine percent black and poor but we let that that stop us we we're we do enjoy a way that we're able to do to make a change
william of course jackie robinson was the hero of of my ear and the young martin luther king at the time in and i had several teachers at that were important to me to imagine george holes the baseball coach that took us under his wing it was a chance to play baseball in it because up on saturdays and me even as a child and at nine years old it because up on saturdays and make sure we read the right place at the right time and more than anything else kids out of trouble but this you really eager idea to be very competitive but that i yeah i guess so i i was always
the smallest in the crowd in and being a smaller group of thugs like like we were back back then you really had to stay on top and so as of the last one chosen whatever the sport was and i really had to stay out the parlor game right i guess that in the high school playing that day up until that point it was as something to do for fun but then after after i got into high school i found there was much more to it than that i found that there was a professional listen to this game that i'd been playing for so long and i am i felt that i had a chance as small as i was at it and as light as i was and as you know i went to high school with frank robinson and veda can see and that they had
graduated on into professional sports would be with the cincinnati reds at the time and i thought i really had a pretty good chance of playing professional baseball yeah i'm right at the lives matter fact the same day that signed frank robinson and veda clinton signed signed me as a matter of fact and is really interesting that them all the money has been made in sports today they signed frank robinson and nato concern and myself all three of those four four thousand hours of peace for twelve thousand hours and they had also one time in in the outfield and then they really didn't have any idea what they had as a matter fact i was treated to since that excuse me just signed laws because if i'm robinson and the difference in the outfit with a scout named bobby
maddox i'm all three of us and them the transition was an easy one even that even though i have lived in the black ghetto i was not aware of the incredible amount of ad dislike people have forty until a startling baseball and my first year i played in high point thomas hill north carolina and there's a kid out of california know who wasn't sure what what it meant to use a a a black water from are to go into a black entrance part of the sit in the back of the bus and in a nineteen fifty six poem was really tough they were serving that did they were granted the segregated schools in america it was quite a transition for me as well
his get a really tries hard and for what it's worth that will give you one hundred percent of just how great his ears that anybody could have under the circumstances i've been to lead the league in and everything the exception of homeruns by first year and the un and the numbers and the statistics are just amazed i'm amazed myself under all of those embers circumstances in a tablet can every year old twenty four year old was a robbery in a few days he and unfortunately
i was thrown out there to the real world was immediately resign his mother at home but at every played in in danville virginia and brought the south and savannah georgia the ugly head of prejudice would always will rise its ugly head i guess in and it was not easy on anybody who has a desire or a white kids on my team as it was only i was the only black on the team and where we went there to to construct a cubicle for me because we were outlawed address together or when you go into a town we'd have to stay at it black hotel or usually find a residence in the black section four's and his roots of interesting i thought i could take all of that and of the one they were playing clayton and nine north carolina and that they had to send
a laundry out well we took a typical uniform <unk> maisel possibly can take your laundry on an endless clubhouse manager very carefully with greats bill that he didn't take a stick and separately so great but they foreclose and the white guys because my medical black cleaners and that have to go to another city there was an eye opening experience and i'm glad i was able to do that because it i feel more mature for feel loved and much more rounded and i guess as i have as i grew into a major league baseball player made of a better person i was like yeah i've played two years i played in savannah georgia and high point north carolina but i played in that and south america for two years during the winter to so i maybe you might call that for years
but ted then i was treated in nineteen fifty seven the winter of nineteen fifty seven i was treated to the cardinals and i sat around a lot of ice at all in nineteen fifty eight and then in nineteen fifty nine i was given a chance to play bob gibson analysis of all of our you know wondering in a workbook is all about sweets running a chance to play a nineteen fifty nine this is an individual i thought i think so i have to go back to my at my high school coach who even after i became a professional baseball player i continue to play for him in some at the summit pro leagues back home and do
after after i was freed to the cartilage george crow an old baseball player kind of took me under his wing and he made a real good hitter on me and that i guess more than anything else this philosophy of life and he has an ability to have to stay on top of his game an end to perfect his craft made me today and a tremendous impression on me i think so you would you talk to me of older baseball player he will say that he will say that he played it was more difficult or
when he played it was more or less this or that but it has changed so radically because of the incredible amount of money that's being made right now that i'm you know we have lost sight of what this is really all about baseball is probably one of the greatest entertainment the things in the world i think and who had forgotten that that perfect has to prove to perfect your craft and to put on a good show and make whatever the person of buying a ticket whatever he's paying for make it worth his while is that we've lost that some place in the in the shuffle big money listen the big business of the whole plan and that's too bad because i buy work for the a's now and i see these young kids that that term that come to the major leagues without without
lot of tools all of things we learn in high point north carolina in savannah georgia they're learning at a major league level holland fail a bus to perpetrate this on our friends that it's changed so radically yeah that's that's unfortunate services as well again remember a man who really took a great deal of pride and look what they did and in winning all the little things that that we can do as a team on the field but not necessarily in order to
have to function as a car unity atf to truly be become a family more or less and by very carefully surround were so easily i was lucky to get three a little lucky to add bob gibson lou brock orlando cicada roger maris stan musial people that are going to eventually look at the whole of frying pan it's not lax in these guys would come to the ballpark of three at two o'clock in the afternoon three o'clock in the afternoon and work on something as i said oh i work for the a's it's tough to get these guys come with now to be there in time for batting practice at this as sort of a different attitude in philosophy in the talent four oct how billy bob gibson willie sure you that you're going to you're not going to go into it in losing string of more than three or four game season to come in and shut the door we had steve
carlton it jerry royce when you know when he did the night on the great pitcher for the dodgers to end as i said it is no accident these guys really worked hard at what it of being the champions and very fortunately what we did something that it just is it's not will never be done again i lived on at a period of time a willie mays and roberto clemente and so many great great athletes will never happen again it's here at all goes well unfortunately i'm afraid your absolute correct and that's too bad because the key is the money because in theory the money that we're talking about this going
into personal bank account would in theory that clayton go into our minor league system we have three minor league clubs now whereas at one time had twenty where is a telecom from does not come from here from the minor leagues pitcher but i don't like what the picture looks well that's that's great because not only do they get a chance to learn their craft but there they're going to school is well known because what i did with this it's one in a million dead millions of kids out there that will never get that one play baseball that are involved in it and neither little league are some uproar american league and that will never play at the coliseum
so the after the app to have to educate yourself that's what's inside your head you're never lose but it's good that they don't just go to college as well before you do that well i guess speed is probably only thing that i couldn't teach me it can never teaching about it any faster coronation you can you can teach that either i could probably teach anatomy good hitter or a better hitter
in place but those two things that is what they look for in in the beginning at the poker table well it was the the climax of a lot of hard work and so i don't really think i can put that feeling in words play because i virtually build back in nineteen sixty four the philadelphia phillies they were ten games and five almost an
audience with oh what a lesson fifteen games to play and we're out of there were actually animate date august busch it fired our manager he had hardly other osha to manage and we want something like fifteen games out of fifteen and philadelphia lost about eleven or and all of a sudden on the last year the season so we had a chance to get into the world series as you say it's from the time you you are in the little league this is where you really wanna be if you're going to be a base for the yankees are doing one so we've we won bailout the painting on the last day of the season and the walk and the yankee stadium here in new york with roger maris and yogi berra and mickey mantle and all of the characters of that of that era
because i can't i can't put feeling into words it's to see it even the wind a five foot ten you feel about eight foot tall had all of these ghosts of babe ruth's rattling around in india all that old stadium in the bronx and how wonderful it was bob gibson had an incredible series actually won three out of the four days we had to women and that was the year that lou brock came to the cartels and so so many pieces of this whole puzzle fit together that term that made it such a special feeling for all of us so
travis broyles yes that is listened to difficult the motivations of staying in shape as it is the key and i've i firmly believe that the time we spent in spring training with the critics a time at this level of ravel is i think that it's a team that feels their best nine men all the time throughout the vote and sixty two games and the team that makes the least amount of steaks is the team of them end up in the world series with the money that it emotionally is drying it's pretty tough when youre families too being gone seventy seven days out of the ugly year at least seventy seven days earlier the incident so
divorce and separations and baseball is the last last down to your but this is our answer would have to do that we have we understand the rugby away awhile all aren't have to continue to keep ourselves and our ends on and to kick each other neurons and stay really stay on top of a successful adult ortiz has three well oh they called me on the telephone first of all one of mr bush's lieutenants and he said that that i'd been traded for
richie allen and that term and that they were sorry syn to go to why would then the next day isn't this how insensitive baseball always delicious on the law they'd do it now but i got in an index eyes card in the mail and it said my name and my contract numbers such and such has been and in their five possibility that you you can be traded sold options or whatever and that that checked traded a year after twelve years a you would think that there would be a little more the camaraderie or nothing else will allow a friendship but that it is a very insensitive and very businesslike means that they choose to do that and the bag inside the mentally prepared myself or from the time i start playing baseball
because at always feel that that sometime or another is going to happen to the only one of those that i check a lot of luck and initially i thought well i guess i'll go to philadelphia and so and then i thought about for awhile an ira i do iran all things that have happened to to myself with him to my colleagues and my peers and my business acquaintances in baseball and i guess why didn't apply why'd i wanted to and i knew that at that reserve clause in my contract was illegal and that i thought that i was the one to make the difference in our contracts
and no i thought i was wealthy enough but i was intelligent enough that thought i had the morals enough to do that well they've been challenged before and then after that the guy's name i guess in a no one ever happened to have what the reserve clause in the contract is on has always been challenged to was some degree or another but their baseball has always been as always gotten around that by not calling our contract a contract see a longer legally a contract must have a beginning and an end but the reserve clause perpetuated this year after year even though you have a one year contract that clause in your contract perpetuated and two who died as a matter fact if they resurrected babe
ruth the yankees would still own him their best how ironclad that clause in the contract was so why i spoke with them and several of my friends one of which was a lawyer and he said that he really ought to have a chance to work any place in america to want to visit america and if you if you were a plumber they certainly couldn't stop me from going someplace else to plum and that i agreed with him and that in many instances clayton that people are so that added one of philadelphia which is not a philadelphia has nothing to do with anything i think that wherever it was they wanted to have signed my contract i would not of god in as much as i wanted to see what my count was really worth on the open market and then very fairly i should have that opportunity is the support of this issue or
this is where oh yes well let's go after all the way back and no floppy disk here because but at that time no one really sure exactly how does twenty six million iran react to muscling them and that and that so what i really needed was a rush to the players on my side so we i would call a meeting with all a player representatives in that scene where we're in mexico city or summer nowhere in puerto rico and yet understand the night to the t of baseball players at the time we thought getting twenty
thousand miles a year was a fair share of this incredible mile rather that they made in baseball and i can i can think of several real superstars were at this meeting reggie jackson i am advocating for a grammy year for this enormous talent that he had so anyway to make a long story sure that i addressed the students meaning of the play representatives and i told him that that term i think what we're going to do i'm going to take this as far as my money would all army to take it on and that the general twenty six this year this is that you are still or so look at the meeting that was in puerto rico and
it's a little sketchy merry clayton clayton i remember tom howell was there and reggie jackson was there in orlando's a player was there and june davenport says they're all of the play representatives with her and i wanted to get a feeling of what i was really getting myself into and if i was going to get their support or not and i firmly believe right now that three of these people would have said okay we are on your side when i don't apply unless we make this better or more partly equitable for the athletes well i left them with all my ideas you know at that time we didn't have a pension fund we didn't have an estimate
of the cost of living escalation clause in my contract at that at that time that the minimum salary is fifteen thousand miles a year or thereabouts an end with this enormous a lot of money being made on television we were getting the very short end of a very long stick so i came back to the states and then i came to new york i spoke with marvin miller who was the executive director of the players association at the time and he says occurred that we should go back to california so much to think about what you're able to get yourself in for causes cumbia a fight to the finish if that in fact is what you want and i guess it's a survey about slowing the kind of people around baseball team develops kind of fighting is a really par four men not only beyond baseball team but they feel everything else in this hemisphere so i thought about it for a while and as i recall from the horror stories that i've that i've confronted him confronted with and they spoke
with many getting getting traded between double headers man learning that they've been traded on the way to the ballpark the men being traded from one club pass to the other and undone i knew that at one time than in the baseball player's career you really ought to have a chance to call himself and i guess more than anything else was the motivation for the voice yes yes well mara i still give my came back to new york here and i have spoken with marvin miller and he and justice arthur goldberg had been colleagues and steel billionaires something and eight he said well if if you in fact want to do this and we might look at the best way we can fight and a week we spoke with just a school where in the
degree to take our case in a listen i want them lawyers in the world now not a matador which really bothered me because the the trial here in new york in the supreme court last six weeks and here are some of the most important issues in sports not just in baseball being are you open court what that what they feared was a deal was so station i think and my roommate bob gibson was doing that showed up jackie robinson show the jim brozman several other that's lisa were no longer athletes say six
years six weeks and the major league baseball players at their careers at this prison and those suburbs so extraordinary because it affected everybody every every baseball player and then as time along with other sports as well but again you have to understand the chokehold that this contract has over you and they're not only are there are clauses and in the end this contract that probably just fired very easily if it if they saw fit they are they can probably buried which will be even worse than it was this is so well so
unfortunate that that we found ourselves in the situation of this and nothing that we can do to john that i don't blame you guys at all because it is the absolute fear of the man upstairs is these are very real one i thought my chances were good realistically this is what we were arguing should one person be able to own another person for his entire life well lived abraham lincoln saw that problem for the day and as a matter of fact this is what the supreme court ruled yes mr flood they said you're actually right one person should not be able to own another person be a baseball player or whatever but we're not gonna do anything about it
that i do imagine that a spirit everybody in this country when we cannot get relief from the supreme court of united states of america on something as fundamental as you're being bought and sold and or owned that i'm a pretty frightening statement to make it does well it is because we lost you know just kind of broke my heart i had done five a necessary to believe this country and where was it shows and spain at the time i understand that the three world series and we played in made this phase one that is
easily recognizable and everywhere i would go i i would never discusses the supreme court ruling or its discussed its possibilities of nothing else and that became very difficult for me so i decided to go to europe for a while and just kind of take it easy and end of basically the idea of the ruins of the male end i was especially for guys i just couldn't imagine losing this case and then afterwards two of the baseball players are you saying it's a very same issues and they won several millions of dollars as a matter of fact in a name a lower court and rollie fingers is always well i don't know i like not to think
it was the obvious than being white in my being black like a tank not i'd imagine had something to do with it i do think that the powers and we saw the writing on the war eventually does this very unfair clause are contracts we change anyway so as measures of its own and the other kid came along i thought they were they going to give some relief of if nothing else unfortunately here you're so right and as we said
before that is really too bad because what we initially wanted was just a fair equitable share of the money that we as first performers and entertainers or whatever you wanna call us were generating for for baseball now all that money the millions of dollars to read about it it goes right out of baseball and right out of our minor league systems higher ticket prices higher hotdog prices and it just knocks or dominoes so of course plants and then they say they were a bell a little bit that they will forever play at war with the exception with with one exception television has dumped a lot of money into it and to run into all sports are so especially because he plays so many games
there are sixty four of the states that's the structure i recall this was last spring we were in arizona and i was having the chance to talk to some young kids in in the outfield seventeen eighteen year old kids and iowa we were talking about writing and i was missing from the great great athletes and i played with them and against willie mays and clemente and jackie robinson and roy campanella can they do all of those with exceptional roy campanella and is a visible black children more or less i said how dare you be black and not notice great great great athlete was
what has to say this the other side of lying well i i don't think so i think whoever chose me to play this role i i think that they chose the right area played by jillian go to the supreme court costs not only on my career but several millions of dollars as well and had probably a the people that suffered along with me my family he'd taken about now a lot of your your wife's yearly checking account and there we all suffered ride ride along with them with myself and i i do hope that
so these young kids you know appreciated appreciate jackie robinson and roy campanella and frank robinson and bill russell in the black pioneers it made a lot of things are real and really possible for a lot of the young blacks are going to come along with that for young athletes per se laptops are well not for the supreme court decision because it's delivery of their loss of my life i did play in three world series and i won the golden globe awards seven times and that is not easy when you play the same position with the other members of the absolutely great things and great times at them that we had gotten find tinged with some fine fine
young man in iran more than the supreme court decision today or salt works well i think a champion is probably a winner and in more ways than having more runs on the scoreboard there is there is you can lose a ball game but you can you can certainly as i said before given yourself and get your strength and an end played again by the rules and and try as hard as you possibly can that is a profile of a champion
Black Champions
Raw Footage
Interview with Curt Flood
Producing Organization
Miles Educational Film Productions, Inc.
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Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
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Program Description
Documentary honoring African American athletes and their accomplishments throughout the 20th century.
Raw Footage Description
Interview with Curt Flood conducted for Black Champions. Discussion centers on the former St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder childhood in West Oakland, California, and the influences and events that led him to a career in professional sports. Additionally Flood discusses the trade that led to his unsuccessful challenge to the reserve clause in Flood v. Kuhn, a lawsuit that was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court.
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Raw Footage
Discrimination in sports; African American athletes; Sports--United States
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Camera Operator: Galindez, Vinnie
Interviewee: Flood, Curt, 1938-1997
Interviewer: Riley, Clayton, 1935-2011
Producing Organization: Miles Educational Film Productions, Inc.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Film & Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis
Identifier: cpb-aacip-620c1dbf98b (Filename)
Format: 16mm film
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Chicago: “Black Champions; Interview with Curt Flood,” 1984-11-16, Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 3, 2023,
MLA: “Black Champions; Interview with Curt Flood.” 1984-11-16. Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 3, 2023. <>.
APA: Black Champions; Interview with Curt Flood. Boston, MA: Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from