The idea of going to school is to get skills which you can use to land yourself a well-paying job that will cater to your needs. However, sometimes you wonder if the money you put into getting that education is worth it, considering the career you are hoping to have and the salary you will be taking home. Well, at times it is all about the passion that is driving you and not the money. Take for instance MLB umpires who have to endure long separation from their families which have led to some getting divorced; still, they prefer to do it. For a person to choose a job that will most likely cost him his family, there has to be a great motivation and since money usually is a motivator, let’s take a look at the MLB umpire salary.
Starting in the minor leagues
No one gets to the top immediately; we all have to start from somewhere and for the baseball umpires that means being a class A umpire. Of course the lower the ladder you are, the lower the pay. According to Career Trend, the starting salary for major league baseball umpires in 2018 was $150,000, but the experienced ones took home as much as $450,000 in the year. Minor league baseball umpires are not as fortunate with the amounts going to a slow as $2,000 to $3,000 each month for the Class A short-season, during the regular season. During full-season, the umpires in class A get paid $2,100 to $2,600 per month, and the pay increases to between $2,500 and $3,100 for the Class AA level. In the minor league, the Class AAA is the highest paid with a salary range of $2,900 to $3,900.
However, these figures are just estimates with different sources having varying opinions. For instance, the Chicago Tribune talks of short-season class A league umpires and rookies in class A getting a monthly salary of $1,800 to $2,000 during the season running from June to August. The full–season class A umpires, on the other hand, get a slightly higher amount of $1,900 to $2,200 in their season lasting five months while the class AA umpires earn a better monthly salary of $2,200 to $2,500. The class AAA still get the highest salary in the minor league with a monthly payment of $3,400.
Pay for the major league baseball umpires
Those who manage to get to the big leagues get to enjoy a better compensation package. As Mental Floss reveals, starting in the major league baseball means getting a salary of $120,000 per year, and once they become senior umpires, the pay jumps to $300,000, while the most senior umpire earns an annual salary of more than $400,000. According to Dummy Sports, umpires in major league baseball get paid depending on their classification:
- Rookie umpire – A rookie umpire only gets his chance into the MLB if the umpire is injured during a major league and the rookie steps in to replace him but only until the umpire is back on his feet again. A rookie undergoes training and experience in the minor leagues for 2 to 3 years before getting a contract to work in the MLB. When he replaces an injured umpire, a rookie earns $300, for every match.
- Female umpire – It seems like the woman will always have the short end of the stick because even in baseball, they will get lower pay than their counterparts. A female umpire will receive a payment of $150 per match and $100,000 as their salary per year. However, once she gains enough experience to be a professional, she gets the same salary as a professional umpire.
- Professional umpire – For one to be a professional umpire, he must have umpired at least 5 MLB seasons, and that will qualify him to receive a salary of $1,000 per match.
Did they always get paid this much?
It was not always rosy for the MLB umpires according to the New York Times when the players had a strike leading to a revision of the pay for the umpires. Previously, the umpires received $60,000 to $175,000 for those with 25 years of experience, but once the deal was in place, the pay increased to between $75,000 and $225,000 for those with 30 years of experience on the MLB.
Further, the rookies also upped the post-season bonus from $10,000 to get the same amount of $20,000 that the seniors were receiving. The World Series pay rose to $17,500 from $5,000 while working for the league championships meant a salary of $15,000, and not the initial $5,000. The new division series began by paying umpires $12,500 while all-star games increased the pay from $2,500 to $5,000. It is also during this new arrangement that the maximum pay for both seniors and rookies was renegotiated; seniors received a maximum salary of $282,500 while rookies got $100,000.
Are there any perks apart from salary?
Fortunately, yes. The umpires, both in the minor and major league baseball get some benefits. Umpires get a four-week paid vacation, and they fly first class. As for the per diem, they get $340 per day to cater for meals and hotel expenses. Those in the minor league do not get as much although the per diem increases by $2 every year. In 2017, class A received $44.50 class AA for $50 while Class AAA earned $58.
With the experienced umpires earning over $300, 000 per year in salary and still making more in per diem, bonuses and the World Series, it is no wonder that people are willing to pay as much as $3,650 for umpire training that takes five weeks, even though there is low turnover and there can be as low as one opening per year. Moreover, you have to be at the top of your class since only 16% of all enrolled students get to take the Minor League Baseball advanced course for a chance to be chosen to work in the minor leagues. The number of those who make it to the minor leagues is only 50 per year against the limited job opportunities, Still, life is all about taking risks, and if you want it, you have to work for it; who knows, you might be the next replacement for a retiring MLB umpire and start getting your thousands of dollars per year.