Major League Baseball (MLB) reportedly brings in more than $8 billion every year. While MLB players earn enormous salaries, most minor league players make between $1,100 and $2,150 a month.
Those numbers are not steady year-round pay.
According to Sports Illustrated:
Most earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season. As a point of comparison, fast food workers typically earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, or about two or three times what minor league players make.
Some minor leaguers, particularly those with families, hold other jobs during the offseason and occasionally during the season. While the minimum salary in Major League Baseball is $500,000, many minor league players earn less than the federal poverty level, which is $11,490 for a single person and $23,550 for a family of four.
Minor league players work six or seven days a week and often live in the homes of host families. While playing in the minor leagues is a chance to make it into the major league, only about ten percent of minor league players actually will.
Garrett Broshuis, a former minor league ballplayer, is now a lawyer and trying to help minor league players get their fair share, notes Mother Jones.
Broshuis assisted in filing a federal lawsuit, Senne v. MLB, in which 20 minor league players are suing MLB for allegedly violating state labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying less than minimum wage and not paying overtime.
Minor league players have no protection from the Major League Baseball Players Association, baseball's powerful union. While minor league umpires unionized on their own, the players have not. So why do they put up with this shoddy and possibly illegal treatment from MLB?
"They're chasing this boyhood dream that they've been after since they were three or four years old," stated Broshuis. "So guys are reluctant to do anything that might place that dream in jeopardy."
After three years in minor league baseball, Broshuis says, "I went to law school to find a career, but I also went in part to find a solution to this problem."