Baseball season is here, and Black baseball players are getting ready to show up and show out.
The state of professional sports has been in a bit of a parlous state thanks to the pandemic, but things seem to be slowly — but surely — returning back to normal.
Fans will recall that in December 2021, the MLB experienced a lockout because the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players had expired.
“The Clubs and our owners fully understand just how important it is to our millions of fans that we get the game on the field as soon as possible. To that end, we want to bargain and we want a deal with the Players Association as quickly as possible,” said the league in a statement.
But, fortunately, the collective bargaining finally worked, and Opening Day will officially happen on April 7.
In this spirit, we decided to come up with a list of some of the highest-paid Black baseball players in the MLB.
In 2020, CBS reported that Mookie Betts signed a massive 12-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $365 million. His contract is the second-largest MLB contract in history (behind Mike Trout’s $430 million contract extension with the Angels) and the largest amongst Black baseball players in history.
In 2016, Spotrac reported that David Price signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. The contract guarantees the starting pitcher an average annual salary of $31 million.
He’s perhaps one of the best-known Black baseball players of all time. And though he’s retired from the diamond, Derek Jeter earned a grand total of $265 million in salary throughout the course of his career, per Celebrity Net Worth.
According to Spotrac, the second baseman signed a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Texas Rangers in 2022. Semien’s contract includes a $175 million guarantee and an average annual salary of $25 million.
Barry Bonds hasn’t been on the diamond since 2007, but he’s still one of the top-earning Black baseball players of all time. Spotrac reports that Bonds made a total of more than $176 million in salary throughout the course of his career.
Like Jeter, CC Sabathia has also retired from the diamond, he is still considered one of the highest-paid Black baseball players. But back in 2011, Bleacher Report confirmed that he’d signed “the biggest contract for a starting pitcher ever” (at the time). The starting pitcher received a seven-year, $161 million deal with the mighty New York Yankees.
Another baseball player that’s retired from the diamond is Ryan Howard. Throughout the course of his career, he was so successful that he made the Forbes list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2017. But though he signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies, it ended in 2016 — and the team paid a $10 million buyout to get out of the $23 million option.