24/7 Wall St.'s Highest-Paid Players of All Time

11. Alex Rodriguez
> Salary ratio: 10.18
> Sport: baseball (third baseman)
> Highest salary: $33 million (2009)
> Average player salary: $3.29 million (2009)

In 2007, Alex Rodriguez negotiated a 10-year, $275 million contract with the New York Yankees that, by 2009, had him earning $33 million per year. Since he began playing baseball with the Mariners in 1994, A-Rod has hit more than 600 home runs, one of just eight to do so. He has been voted an All-Star 12 times, and was named American League MVP three times. Rodriguez also has fourteen separate 100+ RBI seasons, the most of any player in league history. In 2009, Rodriguez helped the Yankees win the World Series and won the Babe Ruth Award as the postseason MVP.

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10. Babe Ruth
> Salary ratio: 10.66
> Sport: baseball (right fielder)
> Highest salary: $80,000 (1930)
> Average player salary: $7,500 (1930)

Arguably the most famous Baseball player of all time, George Herman “Babe” Ruth played 22 total seasons with three teams, most notably the New York Yankees. Ruth began his career as a pitcher for the Red Sox. However, it was not until he was sold to the Yankees in 1919 that the “Bambino” came into his own as one of the best hitters in the history of the game. During his fifteen-year career with New York, Ruth helped his team win four World Series titles, and personally set multiple hitting records that would stand for decades. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in a single season. He also hit 714 home runs over the course of his career, a record that wasn’t broken until 1974. Ruth was one of the first five players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

9. Bobby Hull
> Salary ratio: 10.8
> Sport: hockey (left wing)
> Highest salary: $270,000 (1973)
> Average player salary: $25,000 (1973)

Bobby Hull spent 23 years in the NHL and the now-defunct WHA, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Hartford Whalers. In 1973, the first year he played with WHA, Hull earned $270,000 — more than 10 times the average NHL player’s salary at the time. Hull scored 913 goals over the course of his combined NHL and WHA careers. He won the Stanley Cup in 1961 with the Blackhawks. Hull scored 20 or more goals for 19 straight seasons, and had eight seasons of more than 50 goals. Hull is also notable as the father of Brett Hull, considered another one of hockey’s greats.

8. Sergei Fedorov
> Salary ratio: 10.85
> Sport: hockey (center)
> Highest salary: $14 million (1999)
> Average player salary: $1.29 million (1999)

Russian-born Sergei Fedorov played 18 separate seasons with four teams, but is best known for his thirteen seasons with the Detroit Red Wings between 1990 and 2003. While Fedorov was in Detroit, the Red Wings won three Stanley Cups, as well as winning a record 62 regular-season games in the 1995-96 season. During the 1998-99 season, Fedorov earned $14 million, nearly eleven times the average player salary in that year. Fedorov holds the record for the most goals scored by a Russian-born player in the NHL, at 483. He was also the first European-born player to be awarded the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

7. Wayne Gretzky
> Salary ratio: 11.07
> Sport: hockey (center)
> Highest salary: $3 million (1991)
> Average player salary: $271,000 (1991)

Wayne Gretzky, also known as “The Great One,” is widely regarded as the best player ever to put on skates. In his 22 professional seasons with four teams he set records in nearly every single major scoring scoring category, many of which appear completely unreachable. Gretzky scored 1,016 goals (including the postseason) over his career. He tallied 2,222 assists (including the postseason), nearly 1,000 more than the next-best record, held by Paul Coffey. Gretzky also holds single-season records for assists (163), points (215), and Goals (92). Gretzky was the only player to score 200 points or more in a season, a feat he accomplished four times. He was league MVP nine separate times, and won the Stanley Cup four times with the Edmonton Oilers. In 1991, a few seasons after he was traded to the L.A. Kings, Gretzky earned $3 million, more than 11 times the average player’s salary in that year.

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6. Ted Williams
> Salary ratio: 11.11
> Sport: baseball (left fielder)
> Highest salary: $100,000 (1954)
> Average player salary: $9,000 (1954)

In 1954, past the halfway point of his legendary career as a lifetime member of the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams was in the middle of a contract paying him $100,000 a year. This was eleven times the average player’s salary that year. Williams’ career spanned 22 years from, 1939 to 1960, missing three seasons between 1942 and 1946 to serve in the Marines as an aviator. Williams was one of the greatest hitters in baseball, batting .344 over his long career; leading the American League in batting average six separate times; and being the last player to bat over .400 in a season. While he never won a World Series with the Red Sox, Williams won the American League MVP twice. He was inducted into the The Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.