Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Monday, March 21, 2016

Did Ty Cobb's Contract Have This Stipulation Every Year?

On this day in 1908 Ty Cobb signed a contract that paid him $4,000.  In addition, Cobb would be paid an $800 bonus if he was able to finish the season with a batting average of at least .300.  Was this the first contract of this type?

I don't think there were GM's at that point so I'm guessing the owners decided that the extra $800 would a decent wager and motivation.   When did GM's begin working in MLB?

Well, putting that clause in Cobb's contract would be like:

1.  Giving Babe Ruth a bonus for eating hot dogs during a game, or for me to eat them while caddying.

2.  Giving Turk Wendel a bonus for eating licorice and brushing his teeth during a game.  Sorry for the reference after 1983.  I will try to limit those but that just came to mind.

3.  Having a bonus for Gaylord Perry that only kicks in when he throws a spitball.

Cobb batted under .300 in 41 games during his rookie year.  In 1907 he won his first batting title with an average of .350.  After his first year, he played 23 years and he batted over .300 every year.  After this contract in 1908 he batted under .350 only six times with the lowest of those being .323.  I wonder if Cobb got the same bonuses each year after that.  

With the new contract in 1908 after his 1907 batting title, Cobb went on to win all batting titles from 1908 to 1919 except for 1916 when he hit .371.  In 1916 Tris Speaker ended Cobb's streak.

1908 was the last good year of baseball for Cubs fans.  I'm going to ignore all of the years between then and now except when I'm adding these posts.

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