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The following chart lists the Major League Baseball players who have earned the greatest total salary over their career (through the end of 2005 and not including bonuses).

$153,379,882 - Barry Bonds
$130,890,502 - Kevin Brown 
$127,687,500 - Randy Johnson 
$126,027,000 - Alex Rodriguez
$124,845,000 - Greg Maddux 
$123,568,000 - Sammy Sosa
$121,001,000 - Roger Clemens
$120,159,654 - Ken Griffey, Jr.
$119,010,002 - Gary Sheffield 
$110,426,002 - Mike Piazza
$110,363,431 - Larry Walker
$108,765,000 - Jeff Bagwell
$108,032,727 - Manny Ramirez
$105,569,000 - Pedro Martinez
$103,392,167 - Mike Mussina
$103,145,653 - Tom Glavine
$101,600,001 - Bernie Williams
$100,405,001 - Mo Vaughn (retired)
$ 97,430,000 - Derek Jeter
$ 97,376,294 - Albert Belle (retired)
$ 97,095,446 - John Smoltz
$ 90,299,000 - Carlos Delgado
$ 89,295,996 - Rafael Palmeiro
$ 87,037,500 - Juan Gonzalez
$ 86,014,000 - Frank Thomas
$ 81,510,000 - Ivan Rodriguez
$ 80,902,168 - Shawn Green
$ 80,552,134 - Chipper Jones
$ 80,158,000 - Curt Schilling
$ 79,295,001 - Jim Thome
$ 78,860,000 - Matt Williams (retired)
$ 78,467,500 - Barry Larkin (retired)
$ 77,571,543 - Mike Hampton
$ 76,603,815 - Roberto Alomar (retired)
$ 74,688,354 - Mark McGwire (retired)
$ 73,015,500 - Craig Biggio
$ 69,850,001 - Cal Ripken, Jr. (no data available for 1981-1984)
$ 68,243,667 - John Olerud
$ 68,100,100 - Al Leiter
$ 67,135,000 - Robin Ventura
$ 66,947,501 - David Cone (retired)
$ 66,470,000 - Raul Mondesi
$ 66,251,803 - Chan Ho Park
$ 65,860,818 - Fred McGriff
$ 65,743,750 - Kevin Appier
$ 65,504,063 - Chuck Finley (retired)
$ 65,155,500 - Moises Alou
$ 63,530,125 - Mariano Rivera
$ 60,206,500 - Andruw Jones
$ 60,151,344 - Steve Finley

Annual Salary Edit

The following chart reveals the evolution of the highest paid player in Major League Baseball. A player's yearly salary is considered to be for the maximum value of the contract divided by the term of the contract in years.

YEAR    SALARY/YR  PLAYER             TEAM/ORGANIZATION
1927      $70,000  Babe Ruth          New York Yankees
1930      $80,000  Babe Ruth          New York Yankees
1949     $100,000  Ted Williams       Boston Red Sox
1966     $130,000  Willie Mays        San Francisco Giants
1972     $200,000  Hank Aaron         Atlanta Braves
1975     $740,000  Catfish Hunter     New York Yankees

Major League Baseball's reserve clause was struck down in 1976, beginning an era of free agency and thus market-value player contracts

1979   $1,000,000  Nolan Ryan         Houston Astros 
1981   $2,000,000  Dave Winfield      New York Yankees
1985   $2,130,300  Mike Schmidt       Philadelphia Phillies
1986   $2,800,000  George Foster      New York Mets
1990   $3,000,000  Rickey Henderson   Oakland Athletics
1991   $4,700,000  Jose Canseco       Oakland Athletics
1992   $5,800,000  Bobby Bonilla      New York Mets
1993   $5,975,000* Ryne Sandberg      Chicago Cubs
1995   $9,237,500  Cecil Fielder      Detroit Tigers
1997  $10,000,000  Albert Belle       Cleveland Indians
1998  $14,936,667  Gary Sheffield     Florida Marlins
2000  $15,714,286  Kevin Brown        Los Angeles Dodgers
2001  $22,000,000  Alex Rodriguez     Texas Rangers
2005  $26,000,000  Alex Rodriguez     New York Yankees
  • Ryne Sandberg's 1993 contract was originally for $7,100,000 per year, but he retired before the contract expired and forfeited the back-loaded end of the contract.

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