In 1963, It Pays to Be Mays

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(January 15, 1963) The San Francisco Giants today made outfielder Willie Mays the highest-paid player in baseball.

Willie Mays became baseball’s highest-paid player in 1963 at $105,000.

Willie Mays became baseball’s highest-paid player in 1963 at $105,000.

The new contract will pay Mays $105,000 for the 1963 season.

What did the Giants get for that money? In 1963, Mays would hit .314 with 38 home runs and 103 RBIs, one of his “lesser” offensive seasons during the early 1960s.

Maybe that’s why Mays didn’t get a raise after the 1963 season. Mays would earn the same $105,000 salary in 1964 and in 1965. In both those seasons, he would lead the National League in home runs with 47 in 1964 and with a career-high 52 in 1965, the year he would be named National League Most Valuable Player.

For those efforts, Mays would finally earn another raise – to $125,000 for the 1966 season. He would continue to earn $125,000 per season through 1970.

Today the minimum salary for major league baseball players is $507,500.

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