For years, many sportswriters and Hall of Fame players argued that Miller belonged in the Hall of Fame. But he was kept off the ballot until 2003, 21 years after his retirement. Between 2003 and 2017, his name appeared on the ballot seven times, but the Hall’s corporate-dominated board of directors rigged those elections to keep Miller out, making sure there were enough anti-union owners and executives on the committee to deny him the necessary votes. Miller died in 2012, at 95, and he was finally elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019, a decision that MLBPA’s executive director Tony Clark called “bittersweet.” He will be inducted at a ceremony in Cooperstown on September 8.

Now that Miller will have a plaque at Cooperstown, what will it take to get Flood in the Hall of Fame?

Flood died of cancer in 1997. Posthumously, he’s been a Hall of Fame candidate three times (in 2003, 2005, and 2007), but the Veterans Committee failed to vote him in each time, a victim of the same anti-union corporate baseball establishment that kept Miller out for decades.

Retired outfielder Andre Dawson winning the inaugural Major League Baseball Curt Flood Award in 2020

In recent years, however, there’s been a growing movement to pressure the Hall of Fame to give Flood his due—partly a result of Black Lives Matter, and partly the result of efforts by the players’ union to educate the current generation of players and the public about Flood’s significance. Last year, the MLBPA announced an annual Curt Flood Award, given to “a former player, living or deceased, who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of Players’ rights.”

In February 2020, more than 100 members of Congress signed a letter to Jane Forbes Clark, chairwoman of the Hall of Fame and granddaughter of its founder, urging the Hall’s Golden Age Committee to elect Flood at its next meeting. They reiterated that message in another letter to Clark this June.

“Curt Flood sacrificed his own career so players after him could have free agency, leaving one of the biggest impacts on the game to this day,” said Representative David Trone, a Maryland Democrat. Added Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican: “As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I have always admired the talent he brought to the game and his bravery off the field. He deserves to be honored with his rightful place alongside America’s greatest baseball players.”

Representatives from the MLBPA, as well as from players’ unions in the NFL, NBA, and NHL, signed a joint statement on Flood’s behalf.

“Curt Flood’s historic challenge to the reserve clause a half century ago transcended baseball. He courageously sacrificed his career to take a stand for the rights of all players in professional sports,” said the MLBPA’s Clark.

When pitcher Gerrit Cole signed his $324 million, nine-year contract with the New York Yankees in December 2019, he paid tribute to Miller and Flood.

“Challenging the reserve clause was essential to the blossoming sport we have today, which I believe brings out the genuine competitiveness that we have in baseball,” Cole said. He added: “I just think it’s so important that players know the other sacrifices that players made in order to keep the integrity of the game where it is, and so I hope everybody has that conversation about Curt Flood on the bus.”

For Flood to gain entry, the Hall of Fame’s Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 10 sportswriters, has to put him on the ballot. Then 12 of the 16 members of the Golden Days Era Committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame board, have to vote for Flood at its meeting in December. Rather than simply look at his batting and fielding statistics, they should base their decision on Flood’s overall contribution to baseball.

“If the Hall of Fame recognizes the individuals with the biggest impact on our game, it is undeniable that Curt should be in the Hall of Fame,” said the MLBPA’s Tony Clark.

Many baseball writers, and many of the 69 living Hall of Fame players, will be in Cooperstown for this year’s induction of Miller as well as players Derek Jeter, Ted Simmons, and Larry Walker. This offers an opportunity for the campaign to put Flood in Cooperstown to draw attention to his life and legacy.