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Minor league umps make more, get a higher per diem than the players

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Minor league umpires have a union and just negotiated a new contract to cover the next five years. In addition to some quality of life things such as hotels with interior access (i.e. no Motel 6s) and family leave, they’re getting pay raises:

The minimum monthly salary for rookie and short-season Class A umpires, which had started at $1,900 under the previous five-year agreement, will rise to $2,000 under the new deal and increase to as much as $2,300 for a fourth-year umpire.

For full-season Class A, the minimum rises from $2,000 to $2,100 and increases to $2,600 by a seventh season. At Double-A, the minimum goes up from $2,300 to $2,500 and rises to $3,100 by a ninth season. At Triple-A, it goes up from $2,600 to $2,900 and rises to $3,900 by a 14th season.

As Ben Badler of Baseball America notes, this is a better deal than minor league players get. Monthly salaries for non-40 man roster players are $1,150 for the short season teams, $1,300 for low A and $1,500 for high A. For players repeating a year at the same level, the salary goes up $50 each year. For AA, the monthly salary is $1,700 and it goes up $100 per month for subsequent years. For AAA, the monthly salary is $2,150 per month and it goes up to $2,400 the second year and $2700 the third year.

Pays to have a union, kids.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.