Quick Take



    So where is the major league baseball salary value in 2007? What MLB general managers are spending their money in the wisest fashion? These questions take into consideration the fact that there is no salary cap in the "bigs," so a very small percentage of teams have a realistic chance of getting to the World Series. Small-market teams are generally operating behind the proverbial 8-ball.


    The 2007 MLB player payroll threshold is $148 million per team. Any team that exceeds that number this year pays a luxury tax of 40% over same. This year, only the Yankees have exceeded the threshold. Their player payroll is $189,639,045. They pay a fine (luxury tax) of $16,655,618. Thus, their total payroll is $206,294,663. (In reality, it’s an ant on a big Bronx elephant’s rear end as their gross revenues exceed $400 million, so no need to shed tears for Mr. Steinbrenner.)


    Through June 30, if we put a price tag on victories based on 2007 individual team payrolls, doing the math reveals the following efficiencies or lack thereof:


    The 10 teams with the highest player payrolls are (in order) the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Angels, White Sox, Dodgers, Mariners, Cubs, Tigers, Orioles. Only six of them are at .500 or better; the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, Dodgers, Mariners, Tigers.


    Of the 30 MLB teams, the Indians are the most impressive at .600 with a payroll that ranks a low #23. Only the Angels (50 wins) and Red Sox (49 wins) have more victories at this point than do the Indians (48 wins). Other outstanding “value performers” to date are the Diamondbacks (46 wins with a payroll ranking #26) and the Padres (45 wins with a payroll ranking #24).


    Bottom line……………the bottom line counts! But that bottom line obviously doesn’t determine the participants in the Fall Classic. That’s done on the field and not on the P & L. However, it’s still interesting to examine and compare value. In any walk of life, sports included, it doesn’t take talent to spend money. Spending it wisely and making it work for you is quite another story.


Story of the Week



    Sal Maglie made his major league debut in 1945 with the New York Giants at the "old" age of 29. After the season, he jumped to the Mexican League. All of the players who jumped to Mexico were suspended indefinitely by Commissioner Happy Chandler, and Maglie would not appear in another major league game until 1950.


    When Maglie returned, he began that season in the bullpen before moving into the starting rotation. Maglie was 18-4 while eating up 206 innings for the Giants. He also led the National League in ERA.


    The following season, 1951, Maglie was named to the All Star team en route to leading the league in wins. He also made a World Series start as the Giants won the pennant in 1951. Maglie was an All Star again in 1952, but his numbers began to slide. Because of the war and his suspension, Maglie was only in his third full season at age 35. He continued to pitch for the Giants through the 1954 season, a pennant-winning season. Maglie was integral to the success of the New York Giant teams of the early ‘50s.


    From 1955 to 1958, Maglie made it a habit of being traded at mid-season. He was dealt four times. He played for the Indians, Dodgers, Yankees and Cardinals. He pitched a no-hitter in 1956 and retired with a very impressive 3.15 career ERA. While pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series, Maglie was the losing pitcher in Don Larsen’s perfect game on October 8, 1956.


    Maglie gained his interesting nickname, 'The Barber', because he would throw the ball around batters' chins who were crowding the plate. He was quoted as saying, "When I'm pitching, the plate is mine." He meant it and proved it.


    After his playing days ended, Sal Maglie became a coach. He was a member of the staffs of the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Pilots (in the latter’s only season, 1969. He died in 1992 at 75.


Written by historian Dan Holmes:


Sal Maglie is one of the most notorious headhunters in baseball history. Maglie blatantly used the brush-back pitch as a part of his repertoire, often aiming at batters' heads. After he retired from pitching, Maglie confessed in his baseball memoirs that he had thrown at batters his entire career. Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson were three of Maglie's favorite targets, which left Sal as enemy number one in Brooklyn. He went after Campanella because he believed Roy was less effective at the plate after being dusted off. Despite his headhunting, Maglie actually only hit two players in the cranium, Danny Murtaugh and George Strickland. 

One player who had Maglie's respect was Stan Musial, who understood the role brush-back pitches played in the game. On the day Musial blasted a record five home runs in a doubleheader, Maglie drilled him in the ribs. Stan dropped his bat and trotted to first base, refusing to even rub the wound. Jackie Robinson would find a way to get back at those pitchers who went after him with brush-back pitches. Against Maglie, for example, Robinson would often drop down a bunt toward first, wait for the pitcher to field it and then throw his body into Maglie with great force. In 1956-1957, when Maglie joined the Dodgers, his transgressions were absolved, and his teammates, including Carl Furillo, who had once charged the mound to get Maglie, accepted him.


    Notable Sal Maglie Achievements:

2-time NL All-Star (1951 & 1952).
NL ERA Leader (1950). 
NL Winning Percentage Leader (1950).
NL Shutouts Leader (1950).
NL Wins Leader (1951).
20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1951).
15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1950-1952).   
200 Innings Pitched Seasons: (1950-1952 & 1954).
Won a World Series ring with Giants in
Pitched no-hitter in 1956 for Dodgers against Phillies.  
Had Most Respectable Career ERA of 3.15.
Had Most Respectable Career W-L Record of 119-62.


Last Week’s Trivia


    What is the origin of the letter K used to mark a strikeout in scoring a baseball game? Henry Chadwick, one of the first newspaper journalists to take a literary interest in baseball, invented the modern box score in the 1860s. Chadwick needed S for sacrifice, so he chose K for strikeout, K being the last letter of “struck,” which was then in more common use than the term “strikeout.” Chadwick also invented the abbreviations we use for the events (HR, HBP, BB, E, etc.), in addition to the system we use to indicate fielders (pitcher=1, shortstop=6, etc.)
    At approximately age 10, I was taught by my dad how to keep the box score of MLB games. I did it for each and every Cardinals and Browns game I saw at old Sportsman's Park in St. Louis on those 10 cent scorecards. I wish I still had them all.

Trivia Question of the Week


    Who was the first minority NFL coach to win a Super Bowl? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.