Since 1979, when Nolan Ryan was the first $1 million man in Major League Baseball, salary numbers have been followed as close as wins, era, batting average, and home runs.
A new season is around the corner, and it is incredible how economics have changed. A huge number of players are still free agents, and nobody is likely to hear the phrase “The new highest paid player in baseball is...”
In fact, it was 10 years ago that we heard those words for the last time.
Tom Hicks, the same owner that today is selling his Texas Rangers ball club, gave an astonishing contract to then younger Alex Rodriguez totaling 10 years and $252 million.
Since then, the well-known “A-Rod” has been the highest paid baseball player, thanks to the fat wallet of his New York Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez—and such names as Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana, and Alfonso Soriano—are nowadays the top 10 best paid in the Majors.
It is a good moment to look back upon how Latinos went forward year after year in the Majors.
For the list, I considered the player average annual salary per season. As it can be noticed, it was 15 years ago that Fernando Valenzuela was the first Latino $1 million man.
The History of the Highest Paid Latino in MLB
1985 Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles Dodgers) / $1.2 million
1988 Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles Dodgers) / $2.050 million
1990 Teddy Higuera (Milwaukee Brewers) / $2.125 million
1991 Jose Canseco (Oakland A’s) / $3.5 million
1992 Bobby Bonilla (New York Mets) / $6.1 million
1993 Bobby Bonilla (New York Mets) / $6.2 million
1994 Bobby Bonilla (New York Mets) / $6.3 million
1996 Juan Gonzalez (Texas Rangers) / $7.425 million
1998 Bernie Williams (New York Yankees) / $8.3 million
1999 Bernie Williams (New York Yankees) / $9.86 million
2000 Bernie Williams (New York Yankees) / $12.36 million
2001 Alex Rodriguez (Texas Rangers) / $22 million
2004 Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox) / $22.5 million
2005 Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) / $26 million
2008 Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) / $28 million
2009 Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) / $33 million
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