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On This Day in 1930: Babe Ruth Becomes Highest-Paid MLB Player of His Time

Since I don’t have it in me to write up a 2018 Cubs season preview this week, I am inaugurating a series of baseball history posts that are easy for lazy bloggers to research and schedule ahead of time.

On March 8, 1930, legendary player Babe Ruth became the highest-paid player up to that point in time by agreeing to accept a two-year, US$160,000 deal, which was signed on March 10. According to my research, this contract would be worth a total of nearly US$2.5 million today (US$1.25 million per year), which is about what the average major league salary was in 2005! By way of comparison, players earning a similar amount per year at present include Cubs C Chris Gimenez (US$1 million) and Blue Jays INF Devon Travis (US$1.45 million) (from Baseball Reference).

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At the time, Yankees GM Ed Barrow predicted, “No one will ever be paid more than Ruth.” This of course did not turn out to be true. According to Wikipedia, today’s three highest-paid players on an annual basis are all starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (US$33 million); Zack Greinke (US $31.9 million) and David Price (US$30 million). The highest all-time career earners are fellow ex-Yankees Álex Rodríguez (US$396 million), Derek Jeter (US$265 million) and Carlos Beltrán (US$222 million).

It’s good to be a starting pitcher – or a Yankee!