Monday, March 14, 2005

March 14th, 1965

Kevin Brown Born

If Curt Flood's fate in history is to be a footnote in the players' efforts to free themselves from the Reserve Clause, Kevin Brown's will likely be as a footnote in the player's ultimate success as free agents. While Alex Rodriguez holds the all-time contract record (and is unlikely to lose it in the near future), Kevin Brown was the first player to sign a contract for a total value of over one hundred million. On the heels of helping to pitch both the 1997 Marlins and 1998 Padres to the World Series (and the Marlins to victory of course), while averaging nearly two hundred and fifty innings without topping a 2.69 ERA, the Dodgers gave Brown a generous seven year, one hundred five million dollar contract, good for an average of fifteen million a year. Brown also received a collection of generous perks, including a box at Dodger Stadium and flights for himself and his family back to his Georgia home from LA.

Although he did not pitch the Dodgers into the World Series, or even the playoffs, Brown's first two years at Chavez Ravine featured low ERAs and high innings pitched totals. However, in 2001 Brown injured himself and despite repeated surgeries and a trade to the Yankees, has ended up as yet another piece in the ever-growing collection of evidence that pitchers and long contracts are a bad combination. Despite this, Brown shares with Curt Flood immortality as a historical footnote (although Flood's case is obviously the more self-sacrificing of the two) in the ongoing battle between players and owners.

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