On June 19, 1967, after taking a 4-3 lead over the Astros in the top of the eighth in Houston, the Cardinals watched the lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth as Julio Gotay tied the game with an RBI single that led to extra innings at the Astrodome. Roger Maris came up with the clutch hit of the day in the eleventh when he doubled in Tim McCarver from first to give the Bird a 5-4 edge. The Cardinals held onto win the contest, which was due in large part to Curt Flood's unassisted double play in the bottom half of the inning. The hurler for the Cardinals, Nelson Briles gave up a leadoff single to Jim Landis, before watching him moved over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Bob Lillis came to the dish with hopes of coming up with a game tying hit, and he nearly got the job done by hitting a looper into shallow center. Then came the Gold Glove of Curt Flood who swooped in and made an amazing shoestring catch. Landis was on his way home, as Flood ran to second to double him off.
While many tend to remember Curt Flood as the man who boldly challenged baseball's reserve clause. It should not be forgotten that he was one of the greatest center fielders of his time. He won seven consecutive Gold Glove awards with his first coming in 1963, and he most definitely showed off his athletic abilities on that day in Houston, as he sealed a Redbirds victory with an unassisted double play.
Today also marks the day that the Supreme Court Ruled against Flood in 1972. His sacrifices paved the way for ballplayers to make millions of dollars. I have written several papers and blogs that reinforce my belief that Flood deserves a spot in Cooperstown. The court battle defined his legacy, and it forever changed the landscape in sports. Every player in Major League Baseball is indebted to him, and the world of sports owes him a bit of gratitude as well. Instead of writing a long piece about the court battle, I thought it might be better to look back on a day when Flood ran off the field celebrating with his teammates after pulling off one helluva web gem. He also ran off the field a World Series Champion later that same year.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU196706190.shtml