The Associated Press reports that the average salary in Major League Baseball has surpassed $3 million for the first time. Here’s a breakdown of the average salaries and minimum salaries in Major League Baseball going back to 1967. Two thoughts:
1) I remember back in the 80s when Sports Illustrated ran a story with all of the baseball players’ salaries listed from highest to lowest. On the cover was big-money-Mike Schmidt, topping the league with his $2 million and change salary. These days that’s below average.
2) For anyone who says that Marvin Miller isn’t a Hall of Famer, check out those 1967 salaries. The minimum was $6,000. Even in 1967, that meant that ballplayers with families often had to take winter jobs to make ends meet.
I’m not suggesting that Miller’s Hall of Fame case is based just on salaries, but ask yourself: how much better is the quality of play today, when ballplayers can spend their winters recovering, conditioning and getting ready for the next season, than back in the days when they had to sell cars or dig graves or whatever?
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.