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Baseball Salaries Through the Years 2

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Felix Senett

 

Salaries in baseball, as in all sports, has exploded over the last 30 years.

Salaries in baseball, as in all sports, has exploded over the last 30 years.

Baseball as with other major sports in the US, has seen a huge rise in salaries over the last 100 years. This may come as no surprise to most, as you would expect salaries to rise with inflation, but sports stars’ salaries has risen far beyond this.

One man has conducted a study into these salaries over the years, with interesting conclusions. Professor Michael Haupert, who is the professor of economics at Wisconsin La Crosse, found some interesting patterns and trends, but the most surprising thing seems to be the lack of full data available to great a comprehensive report.

Despite financial information being more freely and readily available, there still seems to be a lack of recorded salaries on file for a lot of major league players. Hauperts study takes into account only 50% of players who have played at least one major league baseball game since 1874.

The study only takes into account actual salary details, excluding any bonuses. Even without taking any additional bonus earnings into account, it’s clear to see from Haupert’s study that earnings have increased exponentially since 1874.

The highest salary recorded for a player at time was $2,000. Of course this was still a large salary almost 150 years ago, but when compared with inflation, it works out as an annual salary of just over $41,000. This is a fairly modest earning for anyone, never mind top players today, like Alex Rodriguez who earned a whopping $29 million in 2013. Alex Rodriguez’ last annual salary would have been worth over $1 million in 1874 – a far cry from Fergus Malone’s salary at the time. In essence, Alex Rodriguez earned more per plate – $56,000 this year – than Malone did all year in 1874 (with calculated inflation).

Even Joe Dimaggio’s huge 1949 earnings of $100,000 is still worth under $1 million in today’s money. This means that even in the last 60 years, the salaries of major league baseball players has multiplied by over 300%. This is a huge rise not seen in any other profession outside of major league sports. Read the rest of this entry →

20 Years Ago: Baseball’s Darkest Chapter 1

Posted on August 12, 2014 by Dean Hybl
The 1994 baseball strike brought out the worst in sports greed.

The 1994 baseball strike brought out the worst in sports greed.

It is hard to believe that 20 years have now passed since money and greed in sports reached a startling climax with what ultimately became the cancellation of the final two months and postseason of the 1994 Major League Baseball season.

In the coming months retiring baseball commissioner Bud Selig will receive many accolades for all he has done to support the resurgence of the game of baseball, but as acting commissioner in 1994 he oversaw the destruction of the game and while it may have recovered financially and in overall popularity, in certain pockets, things have never been the same.

On August 12, 1994 the team with the best record in baseball was the Montreal Expos with a mark of 74-40. Now if you are under the age of 25, you may not even remember that there was ever a baseball team in Montreal and for that you can thank Selig and the others who failed to save the 1994 campaign.

The Expos, who had entered the league in 1969 and went an entire decade before posting a winning season, had developed into a solid franchise having posted .500 or better records 12 times since 1979. However, ironically, their only previous postseason appearance had come during the strike shortened 1981 campaign when they lost the National League Championship Series in five games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was very clear that after all the close calls in previous seasons, 1994 was going to be the year for the Expos.  Despite losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 on August 11th to end a six game winning streak, the Expos were six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves and clearly looked positioned to capture their first-ever division crown and potentially reach the World Series for the first time.

With a young nucleus that included future stars Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Marquis Grissom, Rondell White and Moises Alou along with several other solid major leaguers, the Expos were clearly poised for success.

It was also clear that the city of Montreal was excited and supportive of their 1994 team. Some historians will say that Montreal never really supported the Expos and that a move was inevitable. Others will tell you that the fan base in Montreal during that time was quite solid and had they been able to experience World Series joy, as had happened in Toronto in the previous two seasons, the Expos would have eventually received a new stadium and would still be there today.

It is hard to predict “what might have been”, but one thing is clear, in the weeks prior to the baseball shutdown fans in Montreal were becoming extremely excited about the prospects for their team.

Though the Expos ranked 11th of 14 teams in the National League in overall attendance at the time of the strike, that total was a little deceiving as the Expos had played only 52 home games (compared to 62 on the road) and had been averaging an extremely respectable crowd of more than 24,000 fans per game. In fact, they had drawn more than 30,000 fans (including more than 39,000 for the final game) per night for a four game mid-week (Monday-Thursday) series against the St. Louis Cardinals from August 1-4.

With 30 home games remaining as they drove toward a possible pennant, it is likely that the Expos would have continued to draw large crowds through the remainder of the 1994 season.

Of course, we will never know, as both the baseball players and owners dug in and ultimately the two sides would not settle their differences until the remainder of the 1994 season was gone and the start of the 1995 season was delayed. The end result was a 232 day work stoppage and the cancellation of more than 900 games, including the playoffs and World Series for the first time since 1904.

While it is very easy to vilify Selig and the owners for their role in the strike and some of the aftermath, you also have to give much of the “credit” to Donald Fehr and the players. Read the rest of this entry →

35 Years Ago: Yankees Lose Captain in Shocking Accident 2

Posted on August 02, 2014 by Dean Hybl
It was 35 years ago that New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson died in a plane accident.

It was 35 years ago that New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson died in a plane accident.

While current New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter has spent much of this season saying good bye to baseball fans across the country, it was 35 years ago that another Yankees captain left the game in a sudden and tragic manner.

On August 2, 1979, the two-time defending World Series Champion New York Yankees were struggling to stay in contention in the American League East. Despite having completed a must-needed three game sweep the day before with a 9-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees stood in fourth place in the division 14 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles.

A much needed off day, it would prove to be one of the toughest in team history.

After the three game series in Chicago, Yankee captain and veteran catcher Thurman Munson chose to spend the off-day in his hometown of Canton, Ohio, rather than travel back to New York.

An 11-year veteran, Munson had been the fourth pick of the 1968 MLB Draft and in 1970 was named the American League Rookie of the Year. Over the next decade, Munson was considered the “heart and soul” of the Yankees as they looked to regain the glory of past decades.

In April of 1976, a season that would end with the first World Series appearance for the Yankees in a dozen years, Munson became the first New York player to be designated as team captain since the retirement of Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Munson was a seven-time All-Star and in 1976 was named the American League MVP. He posted three straight seasons of 100+ RBIs from 1975-77 and had five seasons with a .300 or higher batting average. Read the rest of this entry →

PEDs in Baseball 1

Posted on July 16, 2014 by Scott Huntington

a-rod

Performance enhancing drugs are a major problem in Major League Baseball, largely because of the league’s lack of testing until recent years. Following the 1994 player’s strike that led to the cancellation of the World Series, baseball’s popularity in the United States dwindled.

The only thing that brought the fans back was the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, which ended with both players breaking Roger Maris’ single season record. It was later revealed that both players were taking PEDs during this season, but MLB did not have any testing procedures in place. In recent years, baseball has taken some steps towards cleaning up the sport, which has included suspensions of some high profile players.

First Suspensions

After MLB introduced its new drug policy in January of 2004, it was only a matter of time before some players were suspended. The first suspension was handed out on April 3, 2005 when Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Alex Sanchez was given a 10-day ban. A total of 12 players were suspended in 2005, including all-stars Rafael Palmeiro, Ryan Franklin, and Matt Lawton. In 2005, the league and the player’s association agreed to make the penalties harsher for first time offenders, since each of these players was only suspended for 10 days. Read the rest of this entry →

Rod Carew: Hitting Machine 6

Posted on July 05, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Rod Carew

Rod Carew

With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

Few have been as good at the craft of hitting a baseball as Rod Carew. During 19 major league seasons, Carew won seven batting titles and hit .330 or better ten times. Read the rest of this entry →

75 Years Ago: The Iron Horse Says Goodbye 0

Posted on July 03, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Lou Gehrig said goodbye to his fans on July 4, 1939.

Lou Gehrig said goodbye to his fans on July 4, 1939.

Imagine if one of the most iconic athletes of the current era suddenly retired, announced he had an incurable disease and within two years was dead. That is exactly what happened in 1939 when iconic New York Yankees star Lou Gehrig pulled himself out of the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games and then 75 years ago, on July 4, 1939, said goodbye to New York fans with his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

For 13 years, Gehrig was baseball’s most durable player as he famously was in the lineup every day. But durability wasn’t his only strength, he was also the best first baseman of his generation and was a run-producing machine.

Only Gehrig could push the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, into the number three spot in the batting order. He drove in 140 or more runs nine times during his career, including 185 RBI during the 1931 season. In 1934 he claimed the triple crown as he hit .363 with 49 home runs and 166 RBI.

Interestingly, likely because the Yankees did not reach the World Series that season, he finished only fifth in the MVP voting as Mickey Cochrane earned the award. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rod Carew: Hitting Machine
      July 5, 2014 | 3:42 pm
      Rod Carew

      Rod Carew

      With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

      Few have been as good at the craft of hitting a baseball as Rod Carew. During 19 major league seasons, Carew won seven batting titles and hit .330 or better ten times.

      Read more »

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