Do Baseball Players Get A Pension?
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest-ranking professional baseball league in the world. There are only around 1,200 players in the majors, with about another 5,000 in baseball’s minor leagues. The average career isn’t very long, either, at around five or six years. Because of the short length of time, players can receive pensions in retirement. Read below to learn about how players earn pensions.
Not every professional baseball player in MLB’s system is eligible for a pension. A player must have spent at least 43 days in the majors, otherwise known as “service time,” to be able to get the minimum pension of $34,000. Service time applies to the amount of days a player is on a roster, not games played. However, if a player spends just one day in the league, then they’ll receive lifetime medical coverage.
A decade of MLB play is another huge milestone regarding pension. If a player acquires at least 10 years of big league service, then they’re able to receive the full benefits of the MLB pension, which are $100,000 per year. Most MLB athletes do not receive the full pension, however, as fewer than 10% last 10 years in the league.
Calculating Service TIme
Service time is a huge factor in determining a player’s pension. One year of service time equals 172 days spent on either a big league roster or on the injured list. It’s important to note that if a player is on the roster for more than 172 days in a given year, they still only get credit for one year of time. This means 172 days or greater equals 1.0 years of service.
Because of the way it’s calculated, a player can be in MLB for 10 calendar years, but not have accumulated enough time to qualify for the full pension. For example, if a player spends 86 days on the active roster, they receive 0.086 years of service, as fractional years are expressed as one-thousandth of a point for every day served.
The MLB has one of the most generous pension plans compared to the other major American professional sports. The NBA is similar to the MLB, with its minimum benefit being over $55,000 per year. In the NFL, retired players receive roughly $3,000-$5,000 a month per season played in the league, and athletes at least 10 years away from football receive an additional bonus.
In the NHL, players must wait until they are 45 years old and have to play 160 games to receive the maximum benefit of their pensions, except in Canada. If a player plays fewer than 160 games in Canada, they’re still able to collect the maximum pension of $45,000 per year.
Can everyone in MLB receive a pension?
While the average career of a MLB player is short, not everyone is eligible for a pension. Each player must have spent at least 43 days on a big league roster or on the injured list to receive the minimum pension. If a player accumulates 10 years of service time, they become eligible for the maximum pension.