Follow the Money—Sports

Why Guys Are Getting Paid Big

Your Weekly $ Pioneer


This guy is straight up getting paid

This guy is straight up getting paid

Since this week has a great NHL feel to it, I decided to stick with an NHL player for the $ Pioneer. Based on my last post, you’d think that there weren’t any guys in the NHL who were getting paid substantially. But don’t worry, I found a guy.


Behold, Alexander Ovechkin. He’s a forward for the Washington Capitals, and he’s the highest-paid player in the league right now. His salary is colossal.

Last season, the young goal scoring machine was resigned to the Capitals for 13 years and $124 million, by far the largest contract in the history of the NHL. He’s also the first player in league history to go over $100 million in a contract.

It’s not that he doesn’t deserve a healthy portion of this contract. Here’s a look at his career stats.

No matter the pay, we salute you Alex Ovechkin. You’re this week’s $ Pioneer.


December 9, 2008 Posted by | Weekly $ Pioneers | Leave a comment

Your Weekly $ Pioneer

a-rod-announcement-new-york-yankees-star-alex-rodriguez-ends-his-contractIt was only a matter of time before this guy slugged his way into this category.

Even though he’s only 31 and still at the top of his game, Yankees third baseman Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is a sports money pioneer. The reason? His 2001 free agent contract with the Texas Rangers that paid him $252 million. A quarter of a million dollars for an (at the time) shortstop with a sweet swing. It doesn’t sound so bad in today’s sports contract climate, except for a few reasons.

1.) It was the Texas freakin’ Rangers. This was a team who, at the time, had zero pitching, zero pieces to put around Rodriguez in the everyday lineup, and some pretty poor structure at the top. Basically, this insane contract was offered to appease the fans who had to be growing tired of watching their team lose for years.

2.) A-Rod only stayed for a few seasons. Sure, he won a couple AL MVP awards, but the Rangers lost a ton of games and committed themselves to paying one player more than most entire rosters. Oh, the things the Florida Marlins could do with a $252 million payroll.

3.) The contract set a dangerous precedent for position players seeking new deals after 2001. $252 million was a big reach for any player at the time, but look how high MLB contracts have risen since that offseason. Now, you have starting pitchers who only play one day a week making $137 million. You’ve got centerfielders (Carlos Beltran) pulling in over $100 million based off of one great season. Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera cashed in just before the start of this past season for $150 million, and he hadn’t played a single regular season game yet. Basically, the A-Rod contract in 2001 changed the landscape of what players could realistically ask for, or at least sped up the trend.

That’s why Alex Rodriguez is this week’s $ Pioneer.

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Weekly $ Pioneers | Leave a comment

Your Weekly $ Pioneer

This week’s “Pioneer” of big money is none other than quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Kosar, a product of Miami University, or, as it’s more affectionately known, “The U,” was drafted in the 1984 supplemental draft by the Cleveland Browns. Upon getting picked, Kosar was given a $1 million contract, at that time the richest in NFL history for a rookie. The number was almost unheard of at the time.

While Kosar did indeed develop into a solid quarterback, leading the Browns to three AFC championship games and eventually winning  a Superbowl with the Dallas Cowboys, he is one of the reasons why rookies today make so much money before playing a single NFL down. Hence, Kosar is a money pioneer.

Here’s the story associated with the picture above.

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Weekly $ Pioneers | 1 Comment

Your Weekly $ Pioneer—1st One of the Blog!


Your $ Pioneer

Your $ Pioneer

From here on out, I’m making it my goal to post this segment once a week to give some insight into how professional athletes’ salaries got to the ginormous levels they’re at today. After all, that is the purpose of this site. 


Today’s subject is THE GUY as far as money in sports goes. It’s not because of the physical amount of money he made in his day (which, by today’s standards, is next to nothing) but because of what he represented.

That man is none other than former St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Curt Flood, and the year was 1970.

Here’s Flood’s story for background into why he’s such a pioneer for player contracts.

In a nutshell, Flood is the guy that started it all. When you see Alex Rodriguez sign a $250 million contract on a televised press conference, it’s because of Curt Flood that it’s even possible.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Weekly $ Pioneers | | Leave a comment