June 15, 2015
On a six-game skid, with a record of 22-42, the Philadelphia Phillies are currently the worst team in Major League Baseball. But if they could buy a win, there are a few guys on the roster who would be more than capable of lifting the team back into contention.
Last week, Forbes released its annual list of the world's highest paid athletes. With LeSean McCoy now in Buffalo on a lucrative new contract (#66), only three Philadelphia athletes cracked the top 100 - and they're all Phillies.
Since baseball doesn't have a salary cap, it's no surprise that MLB players make up nearly a quarter of the list. First baseman Ryan Howard comes in at #40 as the first local athlete on the list, earning $25.6 million in salary and endorsements this year. Two spots later is pitcher Cliff Lee, who's out with an injured elbow and earning $25.2 million (which rises to $37.5 million if the team buys out his 2016 salary for $12.5 million).
Lastly, Cole Hamels sits at #61, earning $22.7 million. Almost in spite of the Phillies' woes, Hamels has been lights out for most of the year, with a 2.96 ERA against a 5-5 record. He remains the only one of the three players mentioned drawing serious trade interest as the team finally acknowledges it can't just keep staring out the window that's closed. Or for that matter, partying and paying guys like it's 2008.
Instead of piling on these three Phillies during a down time, let's acknowledge that they have all given back to the community. Ryan Howard's Big Piece Foundation promotes academic and athletic achievement, recently providing a $75,000 academic grant to build a library at Vare-Washington Elementary School. The Hamels Foundation, founded with Cole's wife Heidi, also supports educational initiatives and has worked to establish a school in Malawi. Cliff Lee's "K's for Kids", which tallied strikeouts for $150 contributions toward local causes, has partnered with area businesses and charities.
At the top of this year's list is none other than Floyd "Money" Mayweather ($300 million), who raked in $100 million alone on the night of his May 2 fight against Manny Pacquiao. That fight, which most viewers thought was a sham, nevertheless is expected to generate a total of $600 million when all revenue figures are tallied. For his part, despite losing, Pacquiao soared to the number two spot at $160 million.
The only two women on the list, both tennis stars, are Maria Sharapova at #26, earning $29.7 million, and Serena Williams at #47, earning $24.6 million. In 2015, the entry point jumped to $18.8 million from $17.3 million. The entire list of 100 athletes made $3.2 billion over the last 12 months.
See the full list here.