Feb 7 – Joe DiMaggio becomes 1st $100,000 a year baseball player


Joe DiMaggio earned $100,000 in 1950. At the time, the median income in the US was just $3,300. Why is it that a factory worker makes so much less than a man who was good at a game? While many people can acquire the skills and experience that made up the jobs which garnered the median income such as postal workers or factory labor, no one at the time could swing the bat like Joe DiMaggio. The demand for a man who could lead the league in hits and scoring was incredibly high. A winning team filled the stands, and having an incredible player added to its success and excitement. Joe DiMaggio’s streak of getting at least one hit in 56 games in a row sold out Yankee Stadium, and visiting ballparks, as well.

  1. Why value did Joe DiMaggio add to his team? Do you believe he “earned” it? Why or why not
  2. For a later generation, Joe DiMaggio was “Mr. Coffee,” as he became a major product endorser. But when he was playing, sponsorship was in its early stages. What effect has sponsorship had on athletes’ wages? What about total income?
  3. Why do you think athletes are desirable product endorsers?

Image Citation:
[Photograph of Joe DiMaggio hit at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C. on June 29, 1941].  Photo Credit: Bettmann Archive / Bettmann