The Highest Paid Players in Baseball History (1906-2013)

Still the Cash King, Barely: Babe Ruth Was the Highest Paid Player in Baseball 14 Times

Still the Cash King, Barely: Babe Ruth Was the Highest Paid Player in Baseball 14 Times

Alex Rodriguez may be the highest paid baseball player of all time, but Babe Ruth was the highest paid player in the game 14 seasons – most of anyone.

If Rodriguez gets through his current battle with the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball, he likely will break the Babe’s record.

But there is also the possibility someone else – Robinson Cano? – might top A-Rod in the next year or two, but owners do seem to be a bit tight with the purse strings these days. A-Rod has four years left on his current contract at $25M, $21M, $20M and $20M.

Below find every highest paid player by season and their salaries, ranked by most seasons with the biggest paychecks of them all.

To see the chronological order, check out my source – from SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research): sabr.org. They go back to 1874. I started at 1906, when the data became reliable and consistent.

Check out Willie Mays in third – he was baseball’s highest paid player for 11 years. Just 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Mays became the richest man in the game and stayed that way for 11 of the next 12 seasons. Let’s hear it for MLB on that one.

PLAYER # TIMES WITH HIGHEST SALARY SEASON SALARY TEAM(S) POS.
1. Babe Ruth 14 1920 $20,000 New York Yankees RF/LF/CF
      1922 $52,000 New York Yankees LF/RF
      1923 $52,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1924 $52,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1925 $52,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1926 $52,000 New York Yankees LF/RF
      1927 $70,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1928 $70,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1929 $70,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1930 $80,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1931 $80,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1932 $75,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1933 $52,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
      1934 $35,000 New York Yankees RF/LF
             
2. Alex Rodriguez 12 2001 $22,000,000 Texas Rangers SS
      2002 $22,000,000 Texas Rangers SS
      2003 $22,000,000 Texas Rangers SS
      2004 $21,726,881 New York Yankees 3B
      2005 $26,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2006 $21,680,727 New York Yankees 3B
      2008 $28,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2009 $33,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2010 $33,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2011 $32,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2012 $30,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
      2013 $28,000,000 New York Yankees 3B
             
3. Willie Mays 11 1959 $75,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1960 $80,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1961 $85,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1962 $90,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1963 $105,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1964 $105,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1965 $105,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1967 $125,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1968 $125,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1969 $135,000 San Francisco Giants CF
      1970 $135,000 San Francisco Giants CF
             
4. Ty Cobb 9 1910 $9,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1911 $9,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1914 $15,000 Detroit Tigers OF
      1916 $20,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1917 $20,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1918 $20,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1919 $20,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1920 $20,000 Detroit Tigers CF
      1921 $25,000 Detroit Tigers CF
             
5. Mike Schmidt 6 1977 $560,000 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
      1978 $560,000 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
      1982 $1,500,000 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
      1983 $1,652,333 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
      1984 $1,989,875 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
      1985 $2,096,967 Philadelphia Phillies 1B/3B
             
5. Nap Lajoie 6 1906 $8,500 Cleveland Naps 2B
      1907 $8,500 Cleveland Naps 2B
      1908 $8,500 Cleveland Naps 2B
      1909 $9,000 Cleveland Naps 2B
      1910 $9,000 Cleveland Naps 2B
      1911 $9,000 Cleveland Naps 1B/2B
             
5. Ted Williams 6 1948 $65,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1951 $90,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1952 $85,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1953 $85,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1954 $85,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1955 $67,500 Boston Red Sox LF
             
8. Joe DiMaggio 5 1942 $43,750 New York Yankees CF
      1948 $65,000 New York Yankees CF
      1949 $100,000 New York Yankees CF
      1950 $100,000 New York Yankees CF
      1951 $90,000 New York Yankees CF
             
9. Hank Greenberg 4 1939 $35,000 Detroit Tigers 1B/LF
      1940 $35,000 Detroit Tigers 1B/LF
      1941 $55,000 Detroit Tigers 1B/LF
      1946 $55,000 Detroit Tigers 1B
             
9. Lou Gehrig 4 1935 $31,000 New York Yankees 1B
      1937 $36,000 New York Yankees 1B
      1938 $39,000 New York Yankees 1B
      1939 $35,000 New York Yankees 1B
             
11. Bobby Bonilla 3 1992 $6,100,000 New York Mets RF
      1993 $6,200,000 New York Mets RF/3B
      1994 $6,300,000 New York Mets 3B
             
11. Joe Cronin 3 1943 $27,000 Boston Red Sox 3B/MGR
      1944 $27,000 Boston Red Sox 1B/MGR
      1945 $25,000 Boston Red Sox 3B/MGR
             
13. Albert Belle 2 1997 $10,000,000 Chicago White Sox LF
      1999 $11,949,794 Baltimore Orioles RF
             
13. Carl Yastrzemski 2 1971 $167,000 Boston Red Sox LF
      1972 $167,000 Boston Red Sox LF/1B
             
13. Cecil Fielder 2 1995 $9,237,500 Detroit Tigers 1B/DH
      1996 $9,237,500 Detroit Tigers 1B/DH
             
13. Dick Allen 2 1973 $200,000 Chicago White Sox 1B
      1974 $250,000 Chicago White Sox 1B
             
13. Fred Clarke 2 1913 $15,000 Pittsburgh Pirates LF/MGR
      1915 $15,050 Pittsburgh Pirates LF/MGR
             
13. Hank Aaron 2 1975 $240,000 Milwaukee Brewers DH
      1976 $240,000 Milwaukee Brewers DH
             
13. Jim Rice 2 1986 $1,964,423 Boston Red Sox LF
      1987 $2,412,500 Boston Red Sox LF
             
13. Mickey Cochrane 2 1936 $36,000 Detroit Tigers C
      1937 $36,000 Detroit Tigers C
             
13. Mickey Mantle 2 1958 $65,000 New York Yankees CF
      1962 $90,000 New York Yankees CF/RF
             
13. Tris Speaker 2 1914 $15,000 Boston Red Sox CF
      1920 $20,000 Cleveland Indians CF
             
13. Yogi Berra 2 1956 $58,000 New York Yankees C
      1957 $65,000 New York Yankees C
             
24. Darryl Stawberry 1 1991 $3,800,000 Los Angeles Dodgers RF
24. Dave Winfield 1 1981 $1,400,000 New York Yankees LF/CF
24. Frank Viola 1 1989 $2,766,667 Minnesota Twins / New York Mets LHP
24. Gary Sheffield 1 1998 $14,936,667 Florida Marlins / Los Angeles Dodgers RF
24. Hal Newhouser 1 1947 $70,000 Detroit Tigers LHP
24. Honus Wagner 1 1912 $10,000 Pittsburgh Pirates SS
24. Hugh Jennings 1 1912 $10,000 Detroit Tigers 1B/MGR
24. Jason Giambi 1 2007 $23,428,571 New York Yankees DH/1B
24. Jimmy Callahan 1 1912 $10,000 Chicago White Sox LF
24. Kevin Brown  1 2000 $15,714,286 Los Angeles Dodgers RHP
24. Lou Boudreau 1 1945 $25,000 Cleveland Indians SS
24. Nolan Ryan 1 1980 $1,000,000 Houston Astros RHP
24. Orel Hershiser  1 1989 $2,766,667 Los Angeles Dodgers RHP
24. Ozzie Smith 1 1988 $2,340,000 St. Louis Cardinals SS
24. Robin Yount 1 1990 $3,200,000 Milwaukee Brewers CF
24. Rod Carew 1 1979 $800,000 California Angels 1B
24. Roger Bresnahan 1 1912 $10,000 St. Louis Cardinals C
24. Sandy Koufax 1 1966 $130,000 Los Angeles Dodgers LHP

Photo: slicethelife.com

Posted on November 29, 2013, in MLB Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: