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Minor League Baseball Players Make Poverty-Level Wages
Garrett Broshuis' first job out of college took him to Salem, Oregon, where he worked six or seven days a week, usually from around three in the afternoon to midnight or later. That didn't include the hundreds of hours on cramped buses to towns as far away as Boise and Vancouver. Many of his coworkers lived in employer-provided housing, sleeping in the bedrooms of host families' college-bound kids or on basement futons. They were paid $1,100 a month. "Professional baseball," Broshuis says, "was disappointing from the first week I was there."
Broshuis was a pitcher in the San Francisco Giants' minor league system, a University of Missouri right-hander selected in the fifth round of the 2004 draft and sent to play for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Class A Northwest League. The minors are filled with players like Broshuis who probably won't make it to the show but are crucial to fill out rosters and help develop major league talent. (About 10 percent will make it to the majors.) But even as Major League Baseball is booming, raking in more than $8 billion annually, these players are shut out from the profits. Since 1976, the rock-bottom salary in the majors has gone up more than 2,500 percent; in the minors, it has gone up less than 70 percent. Starting pay for minor leaguers is between $1,100 and $2,150 a month, and only during the season, which can be as short as three months. "The average baseball fan knows that minor leaguers aren't getting rich," Broshuis says. "But I think the average baseball fan is shocked to know what the salaries actually are."
Now that he's hung up his glove to practice law, Broshuis thinks he's found a way to change that. In February, he helped fileSenne v. MLB, a federal lawsuit on behalf of 20 former minor league players who allege that Major League Baseball violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws by paying them less than minimum wage and failing to compensate them for overtime.
to read more: motherjones.com
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