Highest Paid Players Of The Last Three Decades

It's no secret that baseball player salaries have exploded over the last two decades, but just how much? With some help from the USA Today Salary Database, let's look at the game's highest paid players from last season, ten seasons ago, and twenty seasons ago…

2010

  1. Alex Rodriguez- $32MM
  2. CC Sabathia - $23MM
  3. Derek Jeter - $22.6MM
  4. Mark Teixeira - $20.625MM
  5. Johan Santana - $20.145MM
  6. Miguel Cabrera - $20MM
  7. Carlos Beltran - $19.402MM
  8. Ryan Howard, Carlos Lee & Alfonso Soriano - $19MM
  9. Carlos Zambrano - $18.875MM
  10. John Lackey - $18.7MM

Four Yankees occupy the top spots, and six New York players are in the top seven. Ichiro Suzuki, Barry Zito, Torii Hunter, and Manny Ramirez were the only other players to pull down more than $18MM last season.

2000

  1. Kevin Brown – $15.714MM
  2. Randy Johnson – $13.6MM
  3. Albert Belle – $13MM
  4. Bernie Williams – $12.357MM
  5. Larry Walker – $12.143MM
  6. Mike Piazza – $12.071MM
  7. David Cone – $12MM
  8. Pedro Martinez – $11.5MM
  9. Mo Vaughn – $11.167MM
  10. Sammy Sosa – $11MM

Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Raul Mondesi, and Jeter make up the rest of the eight-figure club.

1990

  1. Robin Yount – $3.2MM
  2. Kirby Puckett – $2.817MM
  3. Roger Clemens & Paul Molitor – $2.6MM
  4. Eddie Murray – $2.514MM
  5. Don Mattingly – $2.5MM
  6. Will Clark & Rickey Henderson – $2.25MM
  7. Tom Browning, Mark Davis & Teddy Higuera – $2.125MM
  8. Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, Kent Hrbek & Jack Morris – $2.1MM
  9. Pedro Guerrero & Kevin Mitchell – $2.083MM
  10. Mark Gubicza – $2.066MM

Tim Raines wasn't far off the list at $2.055MM, and at least six other players earned no less than $2MM that season. 

The top ten salaries in the game have nearly doubled over the last ten years, and they've increased ten-fold over the last 20 years. Albert Pujols could very well land the first contract with a $30MM average annual value next winter; how long will it be before we see a $40MM a year player, maybe ten years? Based on the recent inflation, it could be sooner.


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