Baseball is a favorite pastime for many Americans. Growing up, many of us lived and breathed baseball, with each of us having our favorite team. We had more than one lively conversation at the dinner table surrounding the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cubs. Many of us kids dreamed of making it to the Big Leagues as much for the love of the game and fame, as for the mammoth contracts awaiting us.
Little did we know that not all pro players become multi-millionaires. Although generally well-compensated, what a baseball player takes home depends on several factors including;
- Job Description
Major League Baseball can only accommodate a maximum of 30 teams consisting of 25 players each. These 750 players are expected to play up to 162 games every season. Minor leagues, on the other hand, consist of about 200 teams totaling to 6,000 active players. Unfortunately, only a few of these players get lucky to play in the major league teams. Of course, playing in the Minors cannot be compared to major league baseball in terms of salaries. However, doing what you love, even if in the Minors, is a pretty cool career no matter what.
Although getting a formal education is not necessarily a requirement to qualify to play Major League Baseball, it can indirectly influence the amount of money a player can earn. Some players ultimately get raw deals when signing their contracts due to lack of knowledge or finding a good manager or representation. Exploitation, unfortunately, exists when there is big money involved. Other factors involved with what a player earns obviously depends on their talent, but also on whether they were drafted right after high school, during college or after college.
- Image Rights/endorsements
A good number of baseball players are racking up millions of dollars in endorsements each year. For this to happen, a player needs to develop a big name in the game. A perfect example of a great baseball player who has earned good money through image rights is Jeter. It’s a well-known fact that Jeter pocketed $9 million every year in endorsements before his retirement. Another one is David Ortiz who earns a cool $4 million in off-field earnings every year. A big part of a player’s earnings can come from an assortment off-the-field deals.
- Iconic Status
Many legendary baseball players earn millions of dollars in salary every year due to their iconic status and name recognition. Teams will do everything possible to contract such a player. An iconic figure like Alex Rodriguez is recorded as having earned a whopping $33 million in a single season in 2010. Of course, no matter how “iconic” a player is, they still need to perform.
- Position of play
Certain baseball players earn more salaries than their teammates depending on where they play. Starting pitchers are typically the highest paid in baseball, followed closely by First basemen and Catchers, along with those players sports high batting averages. Generally, you have to be the best all around in your position to earn fat pay.
Virtually, all successful pro baseball players got into the sport for the love of the game. However, a big salary and endorsements can make the game that much sweeter.