Happy Labor Day

2 Sep
John Montgomery Ward

John Montgomery Ward

John Montgomery Ward spearheaded the movement to create baseball’s first union.  He invoked the recent memory of slavery in his article entitled “Is the Base Ball Player a Chattel?” in “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine,” in August of 1887:

“Like a fugitive slave law, the reserve rule denies him a harbor or a livelihood, and carries him back, bound and shackled, to the club from which he attempted to escape.”

Curt Flood

Curt Flood sat out the 1970 season, refusing to report to the Philadelphia Phillies after being traded by the St. Louis Cardinals.  He challenged baseball’s reserve clause all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  Despite losing his challenge in 1972, Flood’s case was a major factor in the elimination of the reserve clause.

“I’m a human being I’m not a piece of property. I am not a consignment of goods.”

Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller

As Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982, Marvin Miller transformed the players union from a toothless entity to one of the nation’s strongest unions.  Jim Bouton, quoted by National Public Radio in 2009:

“If not for politics, so obvious to everyone, Marvin would have been voted in (to the Hall of Fame) years ago. Instead of pointing to the sky, today’s players should be pointing to Marvin Miller.”

3 Responses to “Happy Labor Day”


  1. “Fear of the Black List has Stopped Many a Crooked Player from Jumping” | Baseball History Daily - September 9, 2013

    […]  John Montgomery Ward, Meekin’s manager with the New York Giants, said he was, along with Amos Rusie, Tim Keefe, John Clarkson and Kid Nichols, the “most marvelous pitchers as ever lived.” […]

  2. “Because Players are apt to be Foolish” | Baseball History Daily - July 25, 2014

    […] 1887 John Montgomery Ward shared with The New York Sun his wisdom about what it takes for a ballplayer to get in […]

  3. “It will be a Local Patriotic Game for Blood” | Baseball History Daily - August 4, 2014

    […] 1902 John Montgomery Ward was asked to predict the future.  He wrote about what baseball would look like in 1922 in an […]

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