The Money Pitch: Baseball Free Agency and Salary Arbitration

Overview

Professional baseball players have always been well paid. In 1869, Harry Wright paid his Cincinnati Red Stockings about seven times what an average workingman earned. Today, on average, players earn more than fifty times the average worker's salary. In fact, on December 12, 1998, pitcher Kevin Brown agreed to a seven-year, $105,000,000 contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first nine-figure contract in baseball history. Brown will be earning over $400,000 per game; more than 17,000 fans have to show up at ...

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The Money Pitch: Baseball Free Agency and Salary Arbitration

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Overview

Professional baseball players have always been well paid. In 1869, Harry Wright paid his Cincinnati Red Stockings about seven times what an average workingman earned. Today, on average, players earn more than fifty times the average worker's salary. In fact, on December 12, 1998, pitcher Kevin Brown agreed to a seven-year, $105,000,000 contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first nine-figure contract in baseball history. Brown will be earning over $400,000 per game; more than 17,000 fans have to show up at Dodger Stadium every night just to pay his salary.

Why are baseball players paid so much money? In this insightful book, legal scholar and salary arbitrator Roger Abrams tells the story of how a few thousand very talented young men obtain their extraordinary riches. Juggling personal experience and business economics, game theory and baseball history, he explains how agents negotiate compensation, how salary arbitration works, and how the free agency "auction" operates. In addition, he looks at the context in which these systems operate: the players' collective bargaining agreement, the distribution of quality players among the clubs, even the costs of other forms of entertainment with which baseball competes.

Throughout, Dean Abrams illustrates his explanations with stories and quotations—even an occasional statistic, though following the dictum of star pitcher, club owner, and sporting goods tycoon Albert Spalding, he has kept the book as free of these as possible. He explains supply and demand by the cost of a bar of soap for Christy Mathewson's shower. He illustrates salary negotiation with an imaginary case based on Roy Hobbs, star of The Natural. He leads the reader through the breath-taking successes of agent Scott Boras to explain the intricacies of free agent negotiating.

Although studies have shown that increases in admissions prices precede rather than follow the rise in player salaries, fans are understandably bemused by skyrocketing salaries. Dean Abrams does not shy away from the question of whether it is "fair" for an athlete to earn more than $10,000,000 a year. He looks at issues of player (and team) loyalty and player attitudes, both today and historically, and at what increased salaries have meant for the national pastime, financially and in the eyes of its fans. The Money Pitch concludes that "the money pitch is a story of good fortune, good timing, and great leadership, all resulting from playing a child's game—a story that is uniquely American."

About the Author:

Roger I. Abrams is a major league baseball salary arbitrator who has arbitrated such cases as those involving Ron Darling and Brett Butler. He is also Dean and Richardson Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law and has taught and written in the field of sports law for more than a decade. He is the author of Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law, also published by Temple University Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
So why are ball players paid so much money? Without a doubt, major league baseball is a substantial entertainment business and, as such, dictates big salaries. The same holds true for other professional athletes and for movie stars. Abrams (Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law), a salary arbitrator for baseball and a professor and dean of law at Northeastern University, provides an insider's guide to the economies of the game and the fairness issue of an athlete earning $10 million a year. He illustrates how the system works, how agents negotiate, how arbitration functions, and how the free agency market operates. Considering the players' collective agreement, the distribution of star personnel, plus the competition from other forms of entertainment, the issue of salaries and overpaid players is not as straightforward as most people envision. This is a good read for people looking for answers to free agency and salary arbitration. Notes and a detailed bibliography are included. Recommended for all libraries. (Index not seen.)--Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566397742
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.98 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    The Process Behind Our Pastime

    The novel The Money Pitch provides an insiders look at the inner-workings of the nation's most popular sport. It uncovers the mysteries behind salary setting and arbitration accurately, since the author is an arbitrator himself. Interspersed with salary analysis are interesting anecdotes about players of the past including one account of how the Hernandez brothers, Livan and Orlando, made it to the majors from Cuba. The basic supply and demand principles of economics are readily applicable to baseball, and the marginal utility of a player to one club determines if they choose to submit an offer to him during free agency. The novel probes the question of whether it just to give a baseball player a multi-million dollar contract. I personally think it is absurd, and the author may agree, but these athletes must be payed in the same manner as other athletes and entertainers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2009

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