10. Curt Flood, traded to the Phillies in 1969
Curt Flood never played a single game for the Phillies, but we’re including him on the list because his refusal to report to the Phillies set off a chain reaction that resulted in free agency for MLB players.
Flood met with the players’ union to discuss suing MLB for free agency, and when he received their unanimous support, wrote a letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn demanding the freedom to select a team of his choosing.
The stellar player knew he’d torpedo his career by taking a stand, and he did it anyway.