In today’s world of major league baseball, million dollar contracts are signed at the drop of the hat. However, in the early 60’s, baseball players made 5 figures. It was a different era as players were often seen taking public transportation and hanging out at places that made them extremely accessible. And before players could make 7 figures, they had to first make 6.
It was on this day, February 20th, 1963, that the San Francisco Giants signed Willie Mays to a record contract of $100,000. Mays became the first major league baseball player to earn 6 figures, and his contract opened up the flood gates to more baseball players receiving a 6 figure deal.
At the time, Willie Mays was 31 years old. The Giants had just won the NL pennant in 1962 with Mays leading the team in an impressive eight offensive categories. The Giants went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the ’62 world series in seven games. Mays was by far and away the best player in baseball – and he would later be named the best player of the decade for the ’60s.