How much do mlb umpires make? The highest-paid umpires in Major League Baseball don’t even make as much money as the lowest-paid players, but it’s still a lucrative career for the fortunate few who are able to call balls and strikes for a living.
The minimum salary for players in 2018 is $545,000, but several players earn more than $30 million. For the league’s umpires, the minimum salary is $150,000 (plus quite a few perks), and the most experienced veterans can make $450,000 per year.
Before you quit your day job to try to get a piece of that pie, be forewarned—the road to that much money is a long one that requires a lot of luck and hard work.
According to MLB.com’s “How to Become an Umpire” guide, the first step is to enroll in one of the nation’s two umpiring schools approved by Minor League Baseball Umpire Development: the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School or the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy. Both schools are located along the eastern coast of Florida and offer annual programs that run for about a month from January into February.
Each program charges a tuition of roughly $2,400. If you require room and board, it’ll run closer to four grand.
At the conclusion of those courses, the top 15-20 percent of participants from each program are selected to take part in the Minor League Baseball Advanced Course, which runs for one week in mid-February. The other 80-85 percent paid a couple thousand bucks for a crash course in just how doggone difficult it is to be an MLB umpire.
A handful of candidates who stand out in the advanced course will get assigned to rookie or Class A short-season leagues, which is where the journey truly begins.
Just like the players, umpires need to work their way up through the minor leagues, which could take a decade or more. Also like the players, minor league umpires aren’t exactly making it rain with their income. Per MiLB.com, umpires start out making $2,000-$2,300 per month in rookie and short-season leagues, and they can eventually earn up to $3,900 per month in Triple-A. Minor league umpires also get a per diem of up to $66 per day.
That pay is solely for the months they’re umping games, though, and the minor league season runs for about five months. That means even the richest Triple-A umpires only have a salary of around $20,000. As such, until they get the call from the majors, most umpires work a second job (at least during the offseason) to help make ends meet.
Unfortunately, even the best umpires are liable to languish at the Triple-A level for a long time because job turnover among MLB umpires is almost nonexistent. More than a dozen guys umped for at least three decades. Joe West has been doing it since 1976 and is one of three umpires in history to call at least 5,000 games.
The club of MLB umpires isn’t quite as exclusive as the Supreme Court, but someone who’s trying to break in has to wait until one of the 68 umps at the MLB level retires or otherwise becomes unable to work. That’s the only way a job is going to open up, and some years no one gets called up to the bigs.
How much do MLB umpires get paid for the World Series?
There is no official number listed for how much MLB umpires are paid for working the World Series. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely unknown.
John C. Skipper wrote in his 2010 book, “Umpires: Classic Baseball Stories from the Men Who Made the Calls” that umpires who work the World Series get an extra $20,000, plus expenses. Umpires that work the earlier rounds of the playoffs make $17,500 plus expenses.
That $20,000 comes out to about $5,000 per game if the series is a clean sweep and roughly $2,857.14 per game if the series lasts seven games. Not too shabby for a day’s work.
How much do MLB umpires make in the regular season?
That extra money from the World Series is certainly a nice bonus, but MLB umpires make plenty during the regular season.
According to Career Trend, MLB umpires will make between $150,000 and $450,000. The pay rates are based on experience.
For those trying to figure out the most in a year, umpires could make up to $522,500 if they call three playoff series (at $17,500 per series) and then add the extra $20,000 on top of being a senior umpire.
Average Salary for an MLB Umpire in 2023 – $235,000
For the 2022 season, the average MLB umpire took home $235,000. Generally speaking, the monthly salary starts at $2,000 to $2,500 per month and gradually increases over time as they accumulate more experience.
For example, it’s not uncommon for senior umpires to earn more than $2,000 each game. For someone to reach that level, it takes many years as most of them have officiated over 4,000 games.
Not only that but it’s not uncommon for umpires to receive daily expense allowances to cover things such as transportation, food, and hotel. Their location matters as well. For instance, umpires working in the San Francisco area tend to have higher salaries than those working elsewhere in the country.
The yearly take-home figure might seem high at first, but there are several reasons for it. For starters, MLB umpires work up to 162 games during the regular season, each of which can last up to several hours. They must also pay close attention during each game and are tasked with making close calls with the average baseball being thrown at up to 95-plus mph.
Home plate umpires have an even harder task as they must call strikes for the game and with nearly 300 pitches thrown during each match, they must make many decisions under pressure. Add in curveballs and fastballs and keeping track of everything that’s happening is not easy.
Those who serve in Division 1 are also compensated at a higher rate. For one thing, they’re usually eligible to receive a compensation package that includes housing, mileage, and $400 per game. Having said that, the exact amount depends on various factors.
It’s also worth mentioning that the annual salary for MLB umpires has actually gone up over the years.
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