NPR logo The Wild World Of Baseball Contracts

The Wild World Of Baseball Contracts

As I skimmed through The Express the other day, my eyes quickly swept over sports section. But as I made my way down the first page, I did a double-take before flipping to the next section. The small blurb entitled "Cashing In" caught me by surprise:

Ryan Howard agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract extension through 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday that includes a club option for 2017. The 30-year-old slugging first baseman will make $20 million each year in 2012 and 2013, and $25 million annually from 2014 to 2016 ...

Now, this shouldn't be too surprising to baseball fans, since A-Rod is still the highest paid player to date, averaging $27.5 million a year on the Yankees. But still, that's A LOT of money. I, for one, would be pretty satisfied from the get-go. Alas, with a great amount of funds (usually) comes a great amount of choosiness. I did some searching and came across a list of strange baseball contract clauses. Here are a few of the bizarre perks, courtesy of CNN Living:

Roy Oswalt's big toy:
Before pitcher Roy Oswalt made a start in the 2005 National League Championship Series, Astros owner Drayton McLane promised to make the ace's dreams come true if he won, specifically his life goal of bulldozer ownership.
After Oswalt dominated the Cardinals to send Houston to its first World Series, McLane came through with a Caterpillar D6N XL.
Since Major League Baseball requires high-dollar gifts be disclosed, Oswalt signed an addendum to his contract, a "bulldozer clause," authorizing the club to give him his new toy.

Carlos Beltran's tennis ball launcher:
Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran's mammoth seven-year, $119 million deal from January 2005 showed that he had all of baseball's five tools but lacked a conditioned ocular enhancer: a gadget that throws numbered, colored tennis balls over 150 mph to help players pick up the speed of a pitched ball.
There's a clause in the contract requiring that the Mets lease the machine and retain an operator for it.

If only I got paid as handsomely as Howard and the rest... the only amount of money dealing with my bank account that increases each year is how much I owe the government in student loans. Oh, those graduated payments...

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.