Larson: Baseball’s surprising salary problem and its unlikely solution

From SABR member Greg Larson at on July 18, 2019:

I saw, first-hand, Major League Baseball’s conduct toward its minor players during the summers of 2012 and 2013. I was a clubhouse attendant (or “clubbie” for short) washing jerseys for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the short-season single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Single-A is where new draft picks get their training wheels. In the New York-Penn League, where the IronBirds played, young men would learn the rigors of travel and life as a minor leaguer.

First-year players only make about $1,400 per month in single-A. To make ends meet, most of them have to cram into tiny apartments or live with host families. (Host families are locals who take in ballplayers for the season. Sometimes they ask for a token rent in return, say $10 a day, but usually families house players out of the kindness of their hearts and their love for the team.)

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Originally published: July 18, 2019. Last Updated: July 18, 2019.