Average salaries for professional baseball players top $2 million this year

Wednesday, December 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ Baseball's average salary broke the $2 million barrier for the first time this season.

The average salary of a major league player in 2001 was $2,138,896, according to figures released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

That was up 12.8 percent from last year's average of $1,895,630 _ the lowest rate of increase since 1998.

Still, baseball passed the $2 million mark just nine years after reaching the $1 million. Twenty-five years ago, in the last season before free agency, the average was $51,501.

The New York Yankees had the league's highest payroll, paying an average of $3,930,334 to the 31 players on their Aug. 31 roster and disabled list.

This year's Yankee team won their fourth straight American League pennant but failed to win the World Series for the first time since 1997.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who rallied to beat the Yankees in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, were ninth at $2,701,205.

Seven of the eight playoff teams were among the top 12 in average salary. The exception was the Oakland Athletics, 23rd among the 30 teams at $1,310,084.

Minnesota and Montreal, the teams most likely targeted for elimination by commissioner Bud Selig, had the two lowest averages for the second straight season: $1,128,470 for the Twins and $926,333 for the Expos.

The 12 biggest spenders all had winning records, but only four others did: Oakland (102-60), Philadelphia (86-76), Minnesota (85-77) and the Chicago White Sox (83-79).