The 1994-95 MLB strike was seen by fans across the country as a fight of “billionaires versus millionaires,” and we just might be in for a repeat: That phrase is showing up again in news articles and opinion columns about baseball’s present labor dispute — and even in stories about Little League returning to action. If players and owners cannot work out a deal to play this year,1 there figures to be more public disenchantment. Many Americans might not have the patience for such a labor fight against a backdrop of record unemployment, but it’s worth diving into the numbers behind ballplayers’ salaries to see just how much is at stake.
While not all owners are billionaires, some certainly are. But just as the balance sheets of MLB teams are kept away from the public, it’s impossible to know the financial situations of most club owners. Player salaries, on the other hand, are publicly available.
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