CHART OF THE DAY: Baseball's Salaries Up 6,600% Thanks To Free Agency

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In 2010, the average salary in Major League Baseball surpassed $3.0 million for the first time. And as we near the end of another round of the free agency market, huge contracts for players like Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, and Carl Crawford as well as the rise in minimum salary to $414,000, will almost certainly raise the average even further in 2011.

Free agency came to Major League Baseball in 1975 when Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally won free agent status, essentially striking down the reserve clause. At the time, the average big league salary was approximately $44,676. Since then, the average salary has risen more than 6,600% (see below).

It is worth noting that for all its faults, Major League Baseball is the only one of the four major sports in North America that is not on the verge of a work stoppage. And looking at these salary trends suggests that Major League Baseball is doing just fine, thanks.

Here is how MLB’s average and minimum salary have grown since 1970. (Data via

MLB Salaries Since 1970

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