Dan Schlossberg / Salaries & Business
[The following material is reprinted with permission from Dan Schlossberg's Baseball Gold: Mining Nuggets from Our National Pastime, a $14.95 paperback published in March 2007 by Triumph Books. Copies may be ordered from www.triumphbooks.com.]
By Dan Schlossberg
The highest-paid players of their time:
1947 - Hank Greenberg $100,000
1977 - Mike Schmidt 500,000
1980 - Nolan Ryan 1,000,000
1982 - George Foster 2,000,000
1990 - Kirby Puckett 3,000,000
1991 - Roger Clemens 5,000,000
1999 - Kevin Brown 15,000,000
The 1976 advent of free agency, the average salary was $50,000 and the top salary was $500,000.
HOW SALARIES ROSE
Free agency escalated salaries immediately. The 1976 average salary was $51,000 but that figure jumped to $77,000 in 1977 and $100,000 in 1978.
The 1995 New York Yankees were the first team to have an average player salary of more than $2 million per year. Two years later, baseball's average annual salary had reached $1,385,548.