Jonah Keri has a great story up about Phil Coke’s long strange trip through the minors. A trip that included weird odd jobs and no small amount of determination.
The big takeaway here, as Jonah mentions, is just how criminally underpaid most minor league players are. We hear about the big bonuses, but that’s only a handful of guys in the bush leagues. The rest make do on extremely small wages which force most of them to find odd jobs, all the while being expected to keep themselves in top physical condition and to work on their craft.
Coke notes, correctly I assume, that such hardship focuses the mind and drive and helps teams figure out who really wants it bad enough. But it’s also worth noting that major league teams’ primary motivation here is so save some meager bucks because they can.