Have you ever wondered how much minor league players make each year?
I always get a kick out of the look on people's faces after I tell them how much the players make.
Oh, by the way, it's a monthly salary paid on the 1st and 15th of the month.
Oh yea, it's only for the months they play--that's about four and a half to five months.
No they do not get paid for spring training. They get their room and meals paid for.
There is a scale that most teams abide by. I believe the minimum salary for a minor league player in 2009 is $1,100 per month. WOW!!!! Almost double what my salary was when I first signed in 1982. My salary structure was as follows: $600, $800, $950/$1,100,$1,300, $1,700, $2,200.
That takes you through my 6th year of pro ball. As you can see, nobody ever got rich on a minor league salary. What I find amazing is that the minor league players now have to try and live on what I could not live on over 25 years ago.
Back in the day, I was sent a contract from the Pirates around the beginning of January each year. I would usually look at it and send it back. At that time, I was usually given raises based on the kind of year I had and where the club thought I would play the next season. Many times it was a minor league split contract.
For example, if I made the high A club, it was $950 per month. If I made the AA club for more than 90 consecutive days, the salary was $1,100 per month.
My brother-in-law was going to Towson University at the time. He wrote a letter to my minor league director Branch Rickey III, as if he was my agent asking for more of a raise. How funny it must have been to Branch at the time.
I remember sending back my contract looking for about $100 more a month than they offered. It was actually fun haggling over the few dollars each year. It would usually come down to splitting the difference. But, $25 to $50 per month was a big deal.
Some of the conversations I had with Branch were very interesting. I would tell him how well I pitched the year before and how I deserved more money. And he would tell me he did not see it the same as I did. It was a very humbling experience indeed.
Most of the teams now tell the player that if you are in this year of service and at this level you make X amount per month. No Haggling!!!! Take it or stay home.
Do you think it's possible for a professional baseball player in his 5th year of service to make less than $6.00 per hour? Well, it's not only possible, it's a fact. So, somehow, the minor league players have to try and live on less than what I could not live on over 25 years ago.
I'm not asking you to feel sorry for the players. They have an opportunity to do something that most would do for free. At least, that's what most people say.
But, let me tell you something. You can't pay bills on, "One day I might make millions of dollars. Can I pay you then?"
I believe less than 7% of the players that sign a professional contract ever play a day in the major leagues. I'm not saying that minor league players should make a ton of money, but less than $6.00 per hour?