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THE QUESTION: Are baseball players overpaid in comparison to athletes in other professional sports?

May 16, 1960
May 16, 1960

Table of Contents
May 16, 1960

Derby
What's So Funny
French Finish
Chuck McKinley
Alaska Cruise
Horse Shows
Baseball
Hunting
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

THE QUESTION: Are baseball players overpaid in comparison to athletes in other professional sports?

KYLE ROTE
Scarsdale, N.Y.
Co-Captain, New York
Giants
Considering the risk pro football players take, they're underpaid compared to baseball players. We average $9,300 for a five-to-six-month season including training. Baseball pays an average of $13,000 for a six-month season, and today's top salaries are about $75,000. The top football salary is around $25,000.

This is an article from the May 16, 1960 issue

MUZZ PATRICK
Old Greenwich, Conn.
General Manager,
New York Rangers
Baseball players certainly are not overpaid when compared to hockey players. If anything, we do better with an average salary of about $9,500 a year. We play only 70 games. The baseball season is 154 games. Furthermore, baseball draws much larger crowds to its big stadiums. Our average at the Garden is about 12,000.

HEDLEY WOODHOUSE
Miami Springs, Fla.
Jockey
If the average baseball player gets $13,000 a year, he's either greatly overpaid in relation to the average jockey or we are grossly underpaid. The average jockey earns from $5,000 to $6,000 a year, and he really works the entire year. A baseball player's season is six months, and his occupation is not nearly as hazardous.

CARMEN BASILIO
Chittenango, N.Y.
Former welterweight and middleweight champion
Baseball players are paid what they deserve, based on their drawing power. They're not overpaid, but boxers are underpaid. Take the main-bout boys on TV. They get $5,000 a fight and possibly four fights a year. The preliminary four-round boys are paid $75 to $150. It's a hard, tough way to earn a little money.

KARL H. POSKY
Union, N.J.
Member, Hota team German-American Soccer League
By soccer standards, they are grossly overpaid. A soccer player has to be better-conditioned and faster-thinking. The professionals here average $20 a game. They get more on the Continent, but only in Italy do they make big money. Top pay there is only $40,000 a year, and they draw crowds up to 150,000.

BILL SHARMAN
Needham, Mass.
Boston Celtics
basketball player
No. Their season is about six months, ours five to six months. Basketball is more strenuous and we play four or five games a week, but baseball games are longer and draw much bigger crowds per game. The average basketball pay of $9,000 to $10,000 compares favorably with the baseball average of about $14,000.

JACK KRAMER
Los Angeles, Calif.
Entrepreneur, pro tennis
Yes. Pancho Gonzales, top man in tennis, earns about $75,000 a year. Mays at $85,000 is certainly overpaid, compared to Pancho, because Mays isn't as important to baseball as Gonzales is to tennis. I can't pay Pancho more because the money isn't there. Besides, our men play from nine to 12 months a year.

TOMMY BOLT
Crystal River, Fla.
Golf pro
There are 35 or 40 golf pros who compare to baseball players. The best of this group are better paid than the top baseball stars, and all of them average a lot more than the big league average. I finished 33rd in winnings last year, and my total was $13,000. And, of course, all of us make money from other sources.

RAFAEL (PISTON) MAICTEQUI
Veteran jai alai player
I think some baseball players, when you get into the $25,000-a-year class, are overpaid for the amount of actual physical activity they expend as compared to jai alai players. We use more physical exertion than any baseball player and make less money, approximately $4,000 to $6,000 less a season.

VIC CHRISTY
Los Angeles
Professional wrestler
I would say that only the top wrestlers are better paid than baseball players. Five or six men average between $50,000 to $100,000 a year while some 200 others make between $25,000 to $50,000. At the other end of the scale are a lot of wrestlers who are lucky if they earn as much as $10,000 a year.

DON CARTER
St. Louis
Bowling champion
That's a difficult question because only in the last five years have we televised our matches and made it possible to win large sums. Also, only 30 to 50 men bowl regularly. The champion bowler's take compares favorably with Willie Mays's pay, and our regular bowlers earn more than the baseball average of, say, $12,000.

RODGER WARD
Speedway, Ind.
Winner of the 1959 Indianapolis "500"
No. Drivers on the national circuit average $15,000 to $20,000 as against the baseball average of $12,000 or $13,000. True, we take more risks, but we race only on weekends while they play six days a week, half the time at night. Winning the Indianapolis, alone, was worth more than $100,000 to me.

MICKEY VERNON
Wallingford, Pa.
Pittsburgh Pirates coach
No. The $75,000 salaries you read about are rare. The average pay is about $13,000. Sure, there are quite a few players in the $30,000 bracket, but the rookies bring the average down. Our pay certainly is deserved. The season is long and the stadiums big. We don't average much more than basketball and hockey players.

RED SMITH
Stamford, Conn.
Syndicated sports columnist
Only compared to soccer. Soccer players are disgracefully underpaid nearly everywhere. Sure, baseball pays more than other popular sports, but the season is longer and, considering the gross revenue, the stars earn their big salaries. Pro golfers compare with baseball players in pay, but a top jockey will earn twice as much.

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