Just recently, professional baseball player Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $430 million dollar extension with the Anaheim Angels. These high profile contracts dominant media coverage, however, there are thousands of players making drastically less money. The average contract for rookie-level baseball in the minor leagues is $1,100 per month. Minor-leaguers, still very good players, don’t get the luxuries of major leaguers like Trout. Professional baseball is unfair and minor-league baseball players are under-appreciated.
According to the NCAA, 14% of Division 1 athletes are the first in their family to go to college. The reason the majority of these students are the first in their family is because their family has historically been poverty-stricken which makes working as soon as they graduate high-school more financially secure for the family. Attending a four year university opens up hundreds of job opportunities after school that pay well. Athletes that are willing to pursue opportunities in minor league sports, such as rookie-level baseball, are taking mind-boggling risks. This is surprising considering that many of these athletes’ families would love to have some extra income.
In 2014, the National Center For Education Statistics reported that the median salary for twenty-five to thirty-four-year-olds who attained a college degree or higher was $52,000. If these college baseball players had stayed in college, they would likely be making around four times the mere $12,200 per year salary plus bonuses in rookie leagues.
In the majors, teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers carry a 40-man roster. In order to have a constant supply of prospects and future players, major-league teams need to have farm systems that raise talent. Yes, these teams do need farm systems to keep their teams running, however the minor leagues need better support.
Minor league baseball players can barely afford a baseball bat. Let that sink in. These young men are paid to swing a bat and throw a ball, and they cannot even afford the bat that allows them to make money. Luckily, the clubs typically provide a bat for the players, but players often opt to buy their own gear to fit their preference.
$1,100 per month is barely enough to live on. If the MLB is truly in-favor of a fair league, then this needs to change. Major-league baseball players may have a base salary of $545,000, but the salary of lower-level players is unacceptable. Minor-leaguers play as much baseball as the pros and don’t get any media attention. The amount of hardwork and dedication it takes to be able to play minor-league baseball is deserving of much more than one thousand dollars a month. Maybe GM’s can spare some of Trout’s $430 million and give it to the minor-leaguers.
The next time you admire Mike Trout’s immense salary, keep in mind the minor leaguers that can only dream of his riches.