How Much is that Strikeout in the Window?

John Smoltz: His strikeouts didn’t come cheap!


Nolan Ryan Strikeouts

QUERY: A reader in the Greater Sugar Land area wants to know ~ How much did Nolan Ryan’s career record 5,714 strikeouts each cost his various contract ownerships over the course of his 27-year (1966-1993) $25,725,150 MLB PLAYER compensation career?

ANSWER: $4,502.13 was the cost per each of Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 K’s.

Determining formula is provided by (Career MLB Income/Career K Total = Career Cost per K.

John Smoltz Strikeouts

It could have been much worse on ownership’s pocketbook, had Ryan pitched most of his time in the economic payment era that followed his own. For example, another Hall of Famer, John Smoltz, began his 21-year MLB pitching career in the twilight years of the Ryan period and worked almost all the way through the first decade of the 21st century (1988-2009).

Smoltz’s career MLB income of $135,657,946 was almost $110,000 more than Ryan’s, but he struck out only 3,084 men ~ a little more than half the Ryan K total for a whopping average Smoltz cost each of $43,987.66 per K.

WOW! ~ And “OUCH!” too!

Closing Question for Further Thought: Will the baseball market for always increasing player salaries ever reach a point in which the heart of the game’s fan support simply replies to the new ticket prices generated by these always expanding increases by staying home?

Apparently, some in baseball think that there’s no limit to the average fan’s wad of expendable cash. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep asking for more as agents, taking more as players, and raising ticket prices as clubs.

Loyalty in baseball is a two-way street. We fans have to be loyal to the real needs of our players ~ and appreciatively loyal to our local club in their efforts to bring us a winner. ~ But players and clubs need to express their loyalty to the fans who make it all possible by doing everything within their abilities to keep their product affordable to the income base that represents any normal fan base.

Lose sight of the probability that the demands of players and clubs for more money each year will increase much faster than the average season ticket and spot game ticket buyers disposable income supply can ever hope to climb at those same rates and we are looking at a brand new ball game that really turns out to be one we’ve seen over time. That’s the one in which the big market clubs from the east and west coasts regain their dynastic control of the World Series as most others either just hang in there as well-paid foes, with some who will scrape up enough cash for a one-season run at the Series once in a blue moon.

In the name of our shared loyalty to the game, let’s hope that we can find a way to keep the beautiful game of baseball from out-pricing the loyal fans who have supported its greatest period of growth until they had to give up buying the  groceries their families needed because that expense got in the way of paying for season tickets.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher



2 Responses to “How Much is that Strikeout in the Window?”

  1. DAVIS O. BARKER Says:

    nice take … this “functional” greed may well be the steamrollers Terrace Mann was referring to …

  2. Larry Dierker Says:

    Near as I can tell, there were only two times the owners cared about fans — just after the Black Sox scandal and just after the strike of ‘94. Babe Ruth saved them the first time; McGwire and Sosa brought the fans back in ‘98.

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