The annual auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory returns this month with some intensely personal pieces from baseball pioneer Curt Flood among the headliners.
Hunt Auctions will be offering 60-plus lots of memorabilia from the personal collection of seven-time Gold Glove winning center fielder Curt Flood. The Flood items will be sold as part of a 650-plus lot auction of collectibles to be offered live on November 14 at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction in downtown Louisville, KY. In addition to the memorabilia from Flood’s career, the auction will feature other historically significant pieces from Hall of Famers including a Jackie Robinson game used road jersey which is expected to fetch $250,000+.
After debuting in 1956 with the Cincinnati Redlegs, Flood was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for the following season, where he spent the majority of his 15 year professional career. While still in his prime, Flood was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies for the 1970 season. Not wishing to be traded against his will, Flood refused to report. When then commissioner Bowie Kuhn denied Flood's request to consider offers from other teams, Flood filed a lawsuit alleging that the reserve clause violated federal antitrust laws. Flood vs. Kuhn eventually reached the Supreme Court, and though the Court ruled against Flood, the case paved the way for an arbitration ruling in 1975 that permanently struck down the reserve clause, ushering in the era of free agency.
“Curt Flood’s memorabilia is noteworthy not only because of his significant accomplishments on the field,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, “but also because of his impact on modern free agency and his lasting legacy on Major League Baseball and all professional athletics.”
Many pieces of memorabilia representing Flood's career and achievements will be auctioned, including his 1964 World Series Ring ($15,000-$20,000), his 1963 Gold Glove Award ($5,000-$7,000), and a number of signed baseballs, including ones inscribed to Flood by historical figures such as Rosa Parks ($1,000-$1,500) and Joe DiMaggio ($500-$750).
“Curt achieved a very special place in American history, being the first free agent,” said Judy Pace Flood, Hollywood actress and the widow of the late Curt Flood. “He is the first to have a contract a Major League Baseball team without a reserve clause in it. He took a case to the Supreme Court to give dignity and respect to all professional athletes.”
In addition to the Flood collection, Hunt Auctions will be offering a rare 1948 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers road jersey expected to sell for $250,000+. Robinson was a central figure in the early civil rights movement, and his jersey is one of the most significant pieces of sports memorabilia to ever be put up for auction. Also available will be the matching 1948 road jersey worn by Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese ($20,000-$30,000). It is fitting that both jerseys are being offered in the same auction, as Reese was one of Robinson’s biggest supporters. Both Hall of Famers played a pivotal role in the struggle to bring integration to baseball and athletics in America. Along with the Robinson jersey, the offered Reese jersey is being offered publicly within the hobby for the first time.
The auction will also include Babe Ruth’s 42nd home run ball of the 1926 season ($15,000-$20,000), a Mickey Mantle professional model baseball bat from 1966 ($25,000-$35,000), and a Jim Thorpe 1922 Zeenut Pacific Coast League SGC 80 ($30,000-$40,000). The card turned up this summer at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, and ranks as the finest example ever graded by a major company.
In addition, Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron will be present at the auction, and will sign two jerseys, to be auctioned on the spot. A portion of the proceeds from the auction of these two Hank Aaron replica jerseys will benefit Aaron’s Chasing The Dream Foundation.Aaron will be in town the night before to receive Louisville Slugger's Living Legend Award on Friday, November 13th.
Bids for the November 14th Auction may be made live and in person at the auction, via phone at 610-524-0822, or online at www.HuntAuctions.com, which has more information on the auction. Hunt Auctions will also offer complementary appraisals on Thursday, November 12th and Friday, November 13th at the Slugger Museum.