The St. Louis Cardinals earned a bonus of $323,170 for winning the 2011 World Series. In all, players from 10 different teams received post season bonuses, including four teams that didn’t make the playoffs.
Who gets what is determined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Each playoff series has a separate pool: the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series. The bonus pool is funded by 60 percent of the gate receipts for the first three games of the Division Series, the first four games of the League Championship Series, and the first four games of the World Series.
During the season, the players determine who will get a full share, partial share, or no share. Usually, players that have been with the team the entire year receive full shares. There have been cases where players join the team just prior to the trade deadline to be voted a full share. Athletic Trainers, equipment managers and clubhouse managers usually receive a partial, or no share.
2011 was a good year for Arthur Rhodes. He will get a World Series and League Championship ring. Since he played for both the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals he will get shares from both teams. It’s the seventh time in World Series history that has happened. Last year, Bengie Molina played for the Rangers and Giants.
The pool is intentionally limited to the minimum number of games required to win the series so as to discourage any artificial extension of the series by greedy individuals (the 1919 Chicago White Sox).
The amount of the gate is determined by stadium size, number of premium seats, luxury boxes, and attendance. Since most stadiums seat about the same number of fans and ticket prices are determined by Major League Baseball (MLB), the pool money is about the same no matter who plays.
The World Series champion earns 35 percent, the World Series loser earns 24 percent, and the four Division Series losers get three percent. If you were starting to feel sorry the four runner-up teams, the four second-place teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs get one percent.
This year’s total player’s pool was $57,299,244.23, with the Cardinals taking $20,627,727.92 and Texas taking $13,751,818.61.
Here’s the breakdown of the other teams:
Championship Series runners-up
• Tigers – Total: $6,875,909.30, Individual full share amount: $126,901.50
• Brewers – Total: $6,875,909.30, Full share: $133,511.33
Division Series runners-up
• D-backs – Total: $1,718,977.33, Full share: $26,674.74
• Yankees – Total: $1,718,977.33, Full share: $26,238.86
• Phillies – Total: $1,718,977.33, Full share: $30,400.62
• Rays – Total: 1,718,977.33, Full share: $30,758.08
Second-place finishers (non-Wild Card winners)
• Braves – Total: $572,992.44, Full share: $11,088.51
• Indians – Total: $572,992.44, Full share: 10,366.06
• Angels – Total: $572,992.44, Full share: $10,862.42
• Giants – Total: $572,992.44, Full share: $10,689.58
The players on the Angels, Braves, Indians and Giants are rewarded for NOT making the playoffs.
A full World Series share for the 2010 champion San Francisco Giants was worth $317,631.29. The figure is less than the $365,000 earned by members of the 2009 New York Yankees.
The winners of the first World Series actually got smaller shares than the losers. The 1903 Boston Pilgrims earned $1,182 per man for defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose losing share was $1,361.25. The reason was that Pittsburgh players were given the owners share of the gate.
I don’t know if it was ever proven to be true; that during the 1913 World Series the Philadelphia Athletics players were told to lose game five of the 1913 Series to the New York Giants. The Athletics were up three games to one and the team had already sold tickets for game six. So if they clinched in five they would have to refund the money. Since player’s pool only splits game receipts from the first four games only the owners would get the receipts from game six. Athletics owner Connie Mack told his team that if they won game five he would give them the game receipts from it. As it turned out, Philadelphia won game five, so we’ll never know if the rumors were true. Each player on the A’s earned $3,246.36.
The Cincinnati Reds won the infamous 1919 World Series beating the Chicago White Sox who conspired to fix the Series. Ironically, the Reds winning share ($5,207.08) was greater than what the eight “Black Sox” players were offered to fix the series.
The 1918 Red Sox winning Series shares of $1,102.51 are the lowest in baseball history.
In 1923 the first World Series to gross over $1,000,000 was the first played at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees winning share was $6,143.49 per man.
In 1933, In the midst of the Great Depression the New York Giants collected $4,256.72 apiece. This was $1,886.77 less than the ’23 Yankees earned. Even by 1943, with World War II raging the Yankees earned $6,139.46 for beating the Cardinals. Twenty years later, they still made a little less than the 1923 Yankees.
The 1954 New York Giants were the first team in baseball history to earn over $10,000 for winning the World Series. They defeated the Cleveland Indians and earned $11,147.90 per man.
On top of all that, players also get a championship ring valued at anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 depending on how generous the owner of the team is. The Yankees 2000 World Series ring weighs more than an ounce, features 22 diamonds and 34.5 grams of gold.
No matter how you slice it, Major League Baseball players have a pretty good deal going.