For those who didn’t know, it’s the twenty-two year anniversary of the film Bull Durham. The movie is a fan favorite for a variety of reasons: Kevin Costner kicks ass in it, Baseball is an awesome sport, and there are a plethora of memorable quotes. Everyone has a go-to of the latter, but one in particular has stuck in my mind–when Crash Davis labels Nuke LaLoosh as a “million dollar arm, but a ten cent head.” What a great, revealing concept.
And back in 1990, a million dollars went a long way. Heck, Roger Clemens made the most among any single pitcher, earning a then-astronomical $2.6 million. By comparison (and a stupid one at that), Jim Johnson, a current reliever on the Baltimore Orioles, makes the same salary present-day as Clemens made back in 1990. But while most people’s knee-jerk reaction is to blame U.S. Dollar inflation for this extreme change, the U.S. Dollar has only increased in value by 74.2% in the past twenty-two years. This means that purely based on monetary inflation, a pitcher of Clemens caliber in 2012 would only make about $4.5 million. So unless you think Nick Blackburn is the re-incarnation of “The Rocket,” then there has to be something else going on here. Continue reading