Jackie Robinson

… appeared in his first major league game 67 years ago today. He went hitless but scored the winning run.

The front page of the Pittsburgh Courier, once the country’s most widely circulated African-American newspaper, conveys the significance of that day.

Robinson Pittsburgh Courier

Pay As You Go

I read John Feinstein’s Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball the other day.

Among other things, I learned that when a minor league player — that is, one without a major league contract — is called up, he is paid for each day at the rate of the minimum major league salary ($500,000 this season) divided by 180 days. A player called up for three days, for example, would be paid $8333.33 ($500,000 divided by 180 times 3). A typical AAA player is paid $2,150 a month (for the five month season), so a few days in the big league is quite a bonus.

At lower levels the pay is much less — “Most earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season.” [In lawsuit minor leaguers charge they are members of 'working poor']

Major league players receive $100 a day for food on the road; minor league players $25. Minor league umpires are paid $1900-3500 a month (for five months).

In the higher minors, the players, manager and coaches are employed (and paid) by the major league team. The local franchise — for example, the Albuquerque Isotopes — controls and manages everything else, but not the baseball.

Play Ball

In 2014 the minimum Major League salary is $500,000.

Last year the average salary was $3,386,212. That’s $20,902.54 a game (if they played all 162 games — just 4 players did).