1980 Headline: Dave Winfield Becomes The Richest Man In Baseball
On this day in 1980, Dave Winfield signed the largest contract in professional baseball’s history. As a free agent, Winfield signed with the New York Yankees for 10 years and $23 million dollars. In today’s age the Yankees got a bargain to land a player of Winfield’s ability for just $2.3 million per season. But, back in the 80’s this was big news!!!
In 1980 the average baseball salary was $143,756. Now you can see why this was such a big story almost 30 years ago. In 2002, baseball’s average salary was what Winfield was getting on this contract – $2.3 million. And for the 2008 season, the average was $2.925 million per year.
It can easily be argued that Winfield was worth the money the Yankees invested in him. For the next 5 seasons ‘Big Dave’ finished in the Top 12 for the MVP. He was selected to 8 consecutive All-star teams as a Yankee and won 5 Silver Slugger titles as well.
By comparison, there are 2 players that in 2008 made MORE money than Dave Winfield did over the course of this 10-year contract. In 2008, Alex Rodriguez earned $28 million dollars and his teammate, Jason Giambi, earned $23.4 million. Winfield’s deal looks like a steal now doesn’t it???