Part One: Are Baseball Players Overpaid?


Read an excerpt from "A Pedestrian's Guide to the Economy" outlining the main points in the argument over professional athletes' salaries.

Read other on-line articles summarizing both sides of the issue.

Check out the following excel spreadsheet and explore the salaries of baseball players.

In 1994, the MLB Player's Association called for a strike against MLB and team owners. Among the players' demands was the right to sell their services to the highest bidder without current MLB restrictions (arbitration, uniform contracts, etc.). Read about the 1994 player's strike ( and see answers to frequently asked questions about the 1994 strike (


Summarize arguments concerning salaries of MLB players. Use a two-column data-recording sheet to list examples of the argument that MLB players are overpaid as well as examples of the argument that MLB players may be underpaid.


Plot the rise in average MLB salaries over the last 20 years. Calculate the percent change in average salary versus the percent change in minimum salary. Is one larger? Why might that be? What does it say about the "skills" of the superstars of MLB versus the substitute or occasional player?

What do players "sell" in the baseball labor market?
Brainstorm the attributes of successful players: what makes a great pitcher a great pitcher or a great hitter a great hitter? Generate ideas from the "Who bats better?" on-line activity. (

Economists call these baseball skills the "factors of production"(or "inputs" or "factor inputs") for baseball teams. For baseball clubs, the "product" is team victories; therefore any skill a player has that contributes to his team winning is a factor input. Use on-line economic glossaries to develop a definition of factor inputs.
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Jacksonville Jaguars HelmetCalculate the average NFL salary. What factors of production are used in football teams?

Now go on to Part 2