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Home » HistoryOctober 2007 » One Billion Dollars

One Billion Dollars

There has been a lot of talk lately about how the New York Yankees have blown over one billion dollars since their last championship. I did some research to discover that the Yankees are not alone; eight other teams have also spent upwards of ten digits in their respective quests to attain baseball’s crown. It took more than seven years for them to spend that billion dollars, of course.

Data for teams whose drought stretched into the Reserve Clause era were not readily available. My method for extrapolating team payrolls for the years prior to 1977 was to take the average player salary of $81,565 in 1965 (the earliest year in Michael J. Haupert’s The Economic History of Major League Baseball) and apply an inflation rate of 4%. That provided the basis for an average player salary from 1908 to 1964. I then multiplied the average player salary by 30 to represent a typical club’s payroll.

Money Spent During Championship Droughts
Team Founded and
World Series, if any
Most Recent Drought Payroll During Drought
Arizona Diamondbacks 1998
2001
6 years $427,338,687
Atlanta Braves
(Boston, Milwaukee)
1876
1914, 1957, 1995
12 years $961,489,711
Baltimore Orioles 1901
1966, 1970, 1983
24 years $1,046,357,141
Boston Red Sox 1901
1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004
3 years $386,631,163
Chicago Cubs 1876
1907, 1908
99 years $1,231,387,281
Chicago White Sox 1901
1906, 1917, 2005
2 years $211,422,500
Cincinnati Reds 1882
1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, 1990
17 years $767,345,316
Cleveland Indians 1901
1920, 1948
59 years $995,322,744
Colorado Rockies 1993 14 years $708,712,364
Detroit Tigers 1901
1935, 1945, 1968, 1984
23 years $854,274,547
Florida Marlins 1993
1997, 2003
4 years $148,057,376
Houston Astros 1962 45 years $1,037,322,914
Kansas City Royals 1969
1985
22 years $692,979,761
Los Angeles Angels 1961
2002
5 years $490,014,989
Los Angeles Dodgers
(Brooklyn)
1884
1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988
19 years $1,205,694,674
Milwaukee Brewers
(Seattle Pilots)
1969 38 years $757,729,207
Minnesota Twins
(Washington Senators)
1901
1987, 1991
16 years $549,612,77
New York Mets 1962
1969, 1986
21 years $1,223,870,695
New York Yankees
(Baltimore Orioles)
1901
1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000
7 years $1,167,768,431
Oakland Athletics
(Kansas City, Philadelphia)
1901
1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989
18 years $696,452,534
Philadelphia Phillies 1883
1980
17 years $881,694,379
Pittsburgh Pirates 1882
1979
28 years $624,286,058
San Diego Padres 1969 38 years $836,264,287
San Francisco Giants
(New York)
1883
1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954
53 years $1,141,895,138
Seattle Mariners 1977 30 years $1,041,126,766
St. Louis Cardinals 1882
1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006
1 year $90,286,823
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1998 9 years $357,305,111
Texas Rangers (Washington Senators) 1961 46 years $1,137,764,366
Toronto Blue Jays 1977
1992, 1993
14 years $698,954,506
Washington Nationals (Expos) 1969 38 years $644,907,269
Payroll data from 1988 to the present from USAToday, 1977 to 1987 from The Business of Baseball, and extrapolated payrolls from prior to 1977 from The Economic History of Major League Baseball.

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