The Pay’s The Thing

These pages track Major League
contracts, bonuses, service time and
franchise values. The information is
unofficial and has been collected from sources in and around the game and from published reports.

Additions, comments, questions?

Contact Jeff at


“I don’t even know how to write those numbers.”

- Rays adviser Don Zimmer, on the $254 million contract for Albert Pujols

“The majors couldn’t pay me enough to play.”
- Kansas City Monarchs pitcher Satchel Paige

“We should make it. We’re the ones doing the entertaining.”

- Giants outfielder Barry Bonds


“Gentlemen, we have the only legal monopoly in the country,
and we’re f—— it up.”

- Braves owner Ted Turner


“You go through The Sporting News for the last 100 years,
and you will find two things are always true.
You never have enough pitching, and nobody ever made money.”

- Donald Fehr, executive director, MLBPA


“For a hundred years the owners screwed the players.
For 25 years the players have screwed the owners
- they’ve got 75 years to go.”

- Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton


“Don’t think. It can only hurt the ballclub.”
- Durham Bulls catcher Crash Davis


“After my fourth season I asked for $43,000 and General Manager Ed Barrow told me, ‘Young man, do you realize
Lou Gehrig, a 16-year-man, is playing for only $44,000?’ I said, Mr. Barrow, there is only one answer to that – Mr. Gehrig is terribly underpaid.”

- Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio

“Gimme a blank contract. I’ll sign it, and you fill in the figures.”
- Red Sox pitcher Lefty Grove, to owner Tom Yawkey


“I’m so poor I can’t even pay attention.”
- White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle, 1987


“We live by the Golden Rule.
Those who have the gold make the rules.”

- Dodgers, Padres & Angels executive Buzzie Bavasi


“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
- Yankees catcher Yogi Berra


“Money and women.
They’re two of the strongest things in the world.
The things you do for a woman you wouldn’t do for anything else.
Same with money.”

- Kansas City Monarchs pitcher Satchel Paige


“There ain’t no way I’m going to pack up
and move 12 years of my life away from here. No way at all.”

- Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood, 1969


“We’re just talking about money here.
Money is not the maiden’s virtue, it’s the currency of whores.”
- MLB attorney John Gaherin


“Fellas, this is the 20th century. You can’t get anybody,
drunk or sober, to agree that once a fella goes to work for the A&P,
he has to work for the A&P the rest of his life.”

- MLB attorney John Gaherin


“Shut up. I told you to shut up. If I want to spend $4 million
on a ballplayer, I will. If I want to spend $12 million, I will. …
It’s my goddamn money and I’ll do what I want.”

- Padres owner Ray Kroc


“Loyal? I’m the most loyal player money can buy.”
- Dodgers, Astros, Brewers, A’s & Angels pitcher Don Sutton


“We plan absentee ownership. We’re not going to pretend
we’re something we’re not. I’ll stick to building ships.”

- Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, 1973


“It was a beautiful thing to observe,
with all 36 oars working in unison.”

- Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck,
describing George Steinbrenner’s yacht

“No problem. I was either going to wake up rich or richer.”
- A’s Mike Norris, after losing in salary arbitration


“I would say it’s the end of the world as we know it. …
I am speechless by that contract. … It’s unbelievable.
Literally, it will take the sport down, that contract.
We’re right back to the ridiculous contracts. It can’t be.”

- Marlins president David Samson,
on reports Ichiro Suzuki would sign a $100 million contract


“My mother always taught me that if the only thing you have to say is,
‘(Expletive) Dave Samson,’ then don’t say anything at all.
So I’m not going to say anything at all.
Is my mother the greatest or what?”

- Mariners GM Bill Bavasi, after signing Ichiro for $90 million

“If we’re gonna win, the players gotta play better,
the coaches gotta coach better, the manager gotta manage better,
and the owners gotta own better.”

- Brewers first baseman George Scott, to the club chairman


“If anyone does not believe that we had our ass kicked
in this labor matter, they are dead wrong. We have lost the war,
and the only question is, can we live with the surrender terms.”

- Cardinals owner Gussie Busch, 1976


“I love being the highest paid player in the game.”
- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez


“Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.”
- Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary

“I am disturbed by the apparent unwillingness of some within baseball to rise above parochial interest and to think in terms of the greater good of the game. The squabbling within baseball, the finger-pointing, the tendency to see economic issues as moral ones … all of these are contributing to our joint fall from grace.”
- Commissioner Fay Vincent


“Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”
- Bob Dylan



  • “Lords of the Realm,” by John Helyar (Ballantine Books, 1994)
  • “Bull Durham” (Orion Pictures, 1988)
  • “More Tales from the Red Sox Dugout”
    • by Jim Prime & Bill Nowlin (Sports Publishing, 2002)
  • “Time” April 26, 1976.
  • “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”
    • by Bob Dylan (“Bringing It All Back Home” 1965).