Major money: Rich get richer $2 million players increase to 174

November 19, 1992|By New York Times

The good news for major-league club owners: The number of players earning between $1 million and $2 million continued to drop this year.

The bad news: The number of players earning $2 million or more continued to rise.

As the most glaring evidence of what is happening at the top of the payroll scale, 24 players earned more this year than the highest-paid player, Darryl Strawberry, made last year, $3.8 million. If Joe Carter of Toronto finishes first or second in the American League Most Valuable Player voting Wednesday, he will make that group a nice round 25.

This was the first year baseball had a $4 million player. Of course, there also were four $5 million players and a $6 million player, Bobby Bonilla of the Mets, at $6.1 million.

With only AL MVP bonuses to be added, the salary statistics are in for 1992. Based on figures compiled by the New York Times from contract data obtained from management and player sources, 262 players had income of $1 million or more this year compared with 223 last year and 162 in 1990.

Of that group, 88 fell in the $1 million-$2 million range compared with 96 last year and 133 in 1990. That means the number at $2 million or more was 174 compared with 127 last year and 29 in 1990.

The Toronto Blue Jays were No. 1 among clubs with a record-shattering average annual salary of $1,643,406 and 18 players at $1 million or more. Their average will creep slightly higher with the addition of MVP bonuses for Carter and possibly Roberto Alomar and Dave Winfield.

The Cleveland Indians had the lowest average, $324,685, based on a remarkably low payroll of $8,766,500. The Blue Jays' payroll was $49,302,166.

Players on rosters or disabled lists Aug. 31 are included in the compilation of team average salaries. Salary experts for the clubs and the players will compute their average salaries next month.

That average, with an upward adjustment to be made after today, is $1,014,947, the first time it has reached the $1 million plateau. A year ago the Times average was $848,499.

The Indians were the only team without a $1 million player. They also were the only American League team without a $3 million player. Houston and St. Louis joined them in that distinction in the National League.

Top 10 salaries

The top-paid players in the majors, with salaries, including all bonuses except for MVP-related (salary in millions):

Bobby Bonilla, NYM.. .. .. .. ..$6.10

Danny Tartabull, NYY.. .. .. ...$5.30

Dwight Gooden, NYM.. .. .. .. ..$5.17

Ruben Sierra, Oak... .. .. .. ..$5.00

Barry Bonds, Pitt... .. .. .. ..$4.90

Frank Viola, Bos... .. .. .. ...$4.83

Roger Clemens, Bos... .. .. .. .$4.70

Doug Drabek, Pitt... .. .. .. ..$4.50

Cecil Fielder, Detroit.. .. .. .$4.50

Jack Morris, Tor... .. .. .. ...$4.45

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