Bodley: Pays to be a Yankee in postseason

Yanks to cash in record shares

Don't blame the Yankees if they pop champagne corks again early next month when the checks they receive for winning the World Series arrive -- just in time for Christmas.

Winning shares for each of the Yankees are projected to be about $400,000, a record by a wide margin.

Exact calculations haven't been determined by the Commissioner's Office, but I'm told the number will be close to $400,000 -- give or take a few thousand.

That will be almost as much as what the Yankees' Joba Chamberlain ($432,575), Brett Gardner ($414,100) and Phil Coke ($403,300) earned for the entire season.

Minimum salary in 2009 was $400,000 compared to the average on Opening Day of $3.24 million. The Yankees payroll easily topped the 30 Major League teams at $201.5 million.

The previous record for a World Series share was $362,173.07, set in 2006 by the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games.

Players on last year's champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, each received $351,504.48. They'll probably get about $240,000 this year after not defending their title.

It certainly pays to be a Yankee in the postseason, and I'm not even talking about the enormous salaries they receive.

Since the Yankees began their amazing postseason run under manager Joe Torre in 1996, their players have received these December checks every year but 2008, when they sat home in October.

Only team captain Derek Jeter and relief ace Mariano Rivera have been along for the entire 14-year journey. Catcher Jorge Posada was with the Yankees for eight games in 1996, but didn't make the World Series roster or receive the winner's $216,870.08 share.

For Jeter, who earned $21.6 million in 2009, his check will be mere pocket change, but certainly enough to furnish the new home he's building in Florida. Rivera's salary this year was $15 million.

Over the years, the postseason dollars add up.

They're really staggering when you consider as recently as 1976, the season before free agency became a way of life in baseball, the average salary was just $52,300. Ten years later, it had climbed to $410,517.

But for Jeter and Rivera, assuming this year's share is $400,000, they've earned a whopping total of $2,119,134.08 from October-November baseball.

Andy Pettitte left the Yankees and played three seasons for the Houston Astros beginning in 2004, but that hiatus away from pinstripes netted him $58,110.12 more than Jeter and Rivera during the 14-year span.

The 37-year-old left-hander, who has more postseason wins (18) than any pitcher in baseball history, got checks totaling $202,271.15 when the Astros lost the 2005 World Series to the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and finished second in their division in '06. Jeter and Rivera received $144,160.93 during the same period.

Yanks master playoff payday
Beginning with their 1996 World Series championship, the Yankees have brought home more than $2 million in playoff bonuses. The following is a year-by-year breakdown of how much each player netted from their postseason exploits.
Year Amount
1996 $216,870.08
1997 $14,299.64
1998 $312,042.41
1999 $307,808.70
2000 $294,783.41
2001 $201,014.06
2002 $20,960.93
2003 $180,889.71
2004 $94,061.07
2005 $21,501.62
2006 $28,598.24
2007 $26,304.22
2008 Missed playoffs
2009 $400,000.00*
Total $2,119,134.09
* Projected

Each postseason, the players' pool, formed from 60 percent of gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series and 60 percent of gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series and the World Series, is divided among 12 teams: World Series participants, LCS and Division Series runners-up and the four regular-season second-place teams that are not Wild Cards.

Postseason teams hold secret meetings before the first Division Series games to determine how many full shares, partial shares and cash awards from the players' pool are made.

Last year, for example, the Phillies awarded 45 full shares, 7.039 partial shares and 15 cash awards.

Shares took a huge jump from 1997 ($188,467.55) to '98 ($312,042.41) because ticket prices for all postseason games increased by as much as 50 percent for most World Series games.

When the Phillies' Shane Victorino grounded out to seal the Yankees' 2009 victory on Wednesday night, it was the 27th championship in the franchise's storied history.

The first was 1923, inaugural year for old Yankee Stadium, when the Yanks defeated the New York Giants in six games.

Winning share that October? Just $6,143.49. The Giants each got $4,112.88. Babe Ruth, who batted .368 in the six games and blasted three homers, earned $52,000 that season.

In 1950, the last time before this year the Phillies and Yankees faced each other in the World Series -- the Yanks won in four games -- the winning share was $5,737.95. The Phillies each got $4,081.34.

Joe DiMaggio, who batted .308 with a homer, was paid $100,000 that season.

Oh, it should be mentioned in the first World Series in 1903 the winning Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games (the Series was a best-of-nine then), winning share was all of $1,182.00.

Some Yankees tickets cost more than that this year.

When Jeter received the Sharp Presents the Hank Aaron Award prior to this year's Game 3 he got a 65-inch TV from the sponsor. He joked with the Sharp CEO about having one in every room of the sprawling home he's building in Tampa, Fla.

"I thank Mr. [Doug] Koshima for agreeing to outfit my entire house with TVs," Jeter said to the CEO half-seriously, drawing a half-hearted laugh from Koshima.

Honestly, Derek, I don't think you need a handout. You can buy a truck load of TVs when your World Series check arrives -- and give one to each of your teammates.

Just for good measure, throw in a DVD of this year's World Series. It will be beautiful and exciting in HD.

And happily for the Yankees, the result is the same.

Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.