For professional baseball players, the major leagues is the desired destination but not the only stop. Through independent baseball leagues such as the Frontier League and the American Association of Baseball, baseball players can earn a living playing the game they love while continuing their pursuit of major league careers. Unlike players in the major leagues, independent baseball league players earn modest salaries and may work other jobs during the off-season.
Player Salaries by Leagues
Prior to its extinction in 2010, the Northern League paid its baseball players an average salary between $700 and $2,500 monthly according to Angelfire.com. Another former league, the Western League, paid its players between $700 and $2,000 monthly. Veteran players earned the higher end of the range. In the Atlantic League, which is still in existence as of publication and includes teams such as the Camden Riversharks and Newark Bears, players earn a salary range between $700 and $3,000 monthly, according to Angelfire.com. In the also current Frontier League, players earn between $550 and $1,500 monthly.
Due to injuries or performance, a number of major league players are forced to continue their careers the independent leagues. Some of these players were former superstars such as Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and Ruben Sierra. In the major leagues, where players earn millions of dollars and lifestyles are more glamorous, a demotion to the independent leagues can be humbling. Independent developmental leagues, which supplement independent baseball leagues, ask players to pay in some capacity because ticket sales and merchandising sales are not enough to cover all team and league expenses.
A May 2011 article for Bleacher Report chronicles players who play for minimal or no salaries in independent league baseball. According to the article, the Las Cruces Vaqueros of the Pecos League has a $20,000 team salary and pays players as low as $200 per month and as high as $400 per month. However, the cap was expected to increase in 2011 to $500 per month. Ten of the team's thirty players will not be paid.
As with Major League Baseball teams, independent league baseball teams have managers who oversee the training and development of players, implement game strategies and determine player lineups for games. In a June 2011 article for Cincinnati.com, Fran Riordan, manager of the Frontier League's Florence Freedom remarks that he received an additional $1,000 (added to his $800 monthly player salary) to be a player manager for Dubois County Dragons in 2004. Player-manager arrangements are popular in independent league baseball. Yet, manager salaries vary because of the varying salary caps among leagues. In the Frontier League, the salary cap is $72,000 per team for the season, compared to the Northern League's $105,000 salary.
- Angelfire.com: Independent Baseball League
- Baseball America; Many Minor Leagues Scrimp and Save to Survive; Garrett Brosius; March 2010
- Bleacher Report; Independent Baseball: Would You Play For Free; Deevon Temple; May 2011
- Cincinnati.com; I Was There...Fran Rioran; Richard Skinner; June 2011
- Independentbaseball.net: Independent Baseball Developmental Leagues
- Biz of Baseball; Rockford RiverHawks To Join The Northern League in 2010; Devon Teeple; August 2009
- Photo Credit Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NBDL Average Salary
The NBA D-League (National Basketball Association Development League) formerly known as the National Basketball Development League is an American minor league basketball...
Salary of Baseball Players
The goal of playing baseball in the major leagues is a dream of many a child athlete. Salaries for Major League Baseball...
The Average Major League Salary
Professional baseball players are the second-highest-paid athletes in North American sports. With an Opening Day 2010 salary of more than $3 million,...
The Average Salary of a Minor League Player
While Major League baseball players average millions of dollars per year in annual salaries, a minor league athlete may earn less than...
The Salary of AAA Baseball Managers
Triple-A or AAA refers to the highest level of minor league baseball in the United States, distinguishing it from Double-A (AA) and...
Baseball Manager Salaries
Major League Baseball managers control the everyday functions of the team, from setting lineups to pitching rotations and making in-game decisions. The...
Salary of a General Manager in the Minor League
The salary for a minor league general manager is nowhere close to the salary for a major league baseball manager. Minor league...
Professional Goalie Salary
The salary for a professional goalie varies wildly depending upon the league, the team and the country. Goalkeepers serve an important role...