Major League Baseball Players Finish Their Degrees

Find out which professional baseball players are going back to college and learn why they will be in the minority when they graduate.

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The average salary for Major League Baseball players was slightly more than $3 million in 2010. While the league minimum of $400,000 is significantly less, you’d think that after a successful career of playing Major League Baseball a typical player wouldn’t have to work another day in his life. But a college degree might be more necessary for baseball players than they realize.

Major League Baseball Players Get College Degrees

When Drew Storen of the Washington Nationals decided to go back to Stanford University, he was attempting something that very few MLB players ever do: earn a college degree. In fact, a 2010 survey showed that only 26 players in the major league had a degree. That’s less that 5 percent of the entire league.

While college may not seem important when you’re making a Major League Baseball salary, the problem is that few players actually make that salary.

While college may not seem important when you’re making a Major League Baseball salary, the problem is that few players actually make that salary.

College Degrees and the MLB System

One of the main reasons that so few major-league players get college degrees is the farm system that the MLB uses. There are varying levels of minor leagues that a player may be in before actually reaching the major leagues, if they ever do.

The Major League Baseball draft will recruit players mostly from their junior year of college, so they are typically only a year or so away from a completed degree. Unfortunately, even as close as they are, few players go back to finish after getting drafted. Players take the chances working through the minor leagues with the hope of making it to the majors.

If drafted college juniors have a hard time finishing their degrees, imagine how difficult it can be for players drafted even earlier, sometimes right out of high school. Minor-league salaries are vastly less than a major-league salary, and if players don’t make it, they are left at the end of their career with little money and no college degree.

Players Go Back to School

Armed with this information, some players are attempting to go back and finish their degrees. Morgan Ensberg, formerly of the New York Yankees, went back to the University of Southern California. Eric Karros, who used to play for the Dodgers and Cubs, attended UCLA in the off-season.

It can be very tough for Major League Baseball players to finish their college degrees and very few attempt to do so. However, as the small group of players who did get their degrees can tell you, they all believe themselves to be better for it. A college degree gives players more opportunities after their careers in Major League Baseball are over.

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