Baseball ranks as the highest-paid sport in America due to its wide acceptance and also due to being deep-rooted in American sports culture. It’s known as America’s pastime and has an active role in shaping the values reflected in American culture and society to this day. Baseball players have extremely demanding schedules with 162 games in a single season played in 6 months.
This requires constant travel, spending time away from family, along with non-stop media attention. This can be difficult and brings us to an interesting topic. What is the average retirement age for MLB players? The average retirement age can vary widely across the board depending on a large multitude of factors. However, it’s estimated that the average retirement age for MLB players is approximately 29.5. Let’s take a further look and see how that breaks down into more detail to get a better understanding.
- The average retirement age for MLB players is approximately 29.5 years of age
- The average career length for MLB players is estimated to be 5.6 years
- MLB baseball players have a minimum salary of $700,000 for the 2022 season
Average Retirement Age for MLB Players By Position
With the average retirement age for MLB players at only 29.5, players need to think about planning for their retirement in some capacity. In addition to that, it’s important to note that the average retirement age for MLB players will vary depending on players positions.
Recommended Reading: Average Retirement Age For NFL Football Players by Position
Below is a breakdown of the average retirement age for MLB players by position. The data points below are rough estimates from Sean Lahman’s MLB player database. It’s worth noting that the average retirement age by position may not be a very accurate representation of how long an MLB player will be in the league
This is due to a lack of available retirement age data for players by position. In addition, this age will vary greatly depending on when players actually enter the MLB. It’s also worth noting that this data has shifted to the upside for baseball players (playing longer) due to advances in sports medicine and training regiments.
In order to get an estimate, we used the average retirement age in conjunction with the average career length to gain a more rounded perspective by playing position. Since pitchers tend to have more volatile careers and are more prone to injuries they have been left out of our estimates.
Making Sense of The Numbers
As you can see, the lowest average retirement age is for DH (designated hitters) at 27.5 years of age. Meanwhile, the highest average retirement age is for SS (short-stops) at 31.5 years of age. Traditionally designated hitters are players who bat in place of the pitcher.
This is nearly a 4-year difference between the average retirement age for designated hitters and short-stops. This difference comes in due to the fact that designated hitters are more prone to injury while short stops and catchers are safer positions.
Our data indicates that offensive positions tend to carry higher injury risk while defensive positions carry lower injury risk. As such, being on the defensive end can in fact yield players a longer career and earning potential.
Average Career Length for MLB Players
The average career length for MLB players is approximately 5.6 years after players break into the majors. According to Population Research and Policy Review, it’s estimated that one in five position players would only play a single season. Less than half of all rookies stay long enough to play a fifth year.
It’s also estimated that only 1% of players last 20 seasons or more. This data comes from examining the careers of over 5,989 position players between 1902 and 1993. The data skews to the downside for players who have an early MLB exit.
Early exits don’t indicate complete retirement from baseball as a large percentage of players who only play a single MLB season tend to go back to the minors or play overseas.
What is the Average MLB Salary?
According to FrontOfficeSports.com, the average MLB salary as of 2022 is $4.41 million, up from $4.17 million in 2021. Taking into account the average career length of 5.6 years, MLB players have career earnings of approximately $24.70 million dollars. Below is a table showing the minimum MLB Salary since 1967 along with the average salary since 1967.
These are just estimated average career salary earnings that don’t factor in endorsement deals or other potential bonuses. As you can see, it pays to be a pro baseball player. However, just because baseball players earn millions doesn’t mean that they should ignore retirement planning.
What Retirement Plans Are Available for MLB Players?
The MLB offers players great retirement plan options as well as access to health-care and long-term care benefits. In addition, players also receive a pension plan depending on their years of service. Below are the different retirement options available to MLB players.
- MLB 401(k) plan
- Pension plan vesting after only 43 days on the active roster
- Lifetime health insurance
- Access to disability and long-term care insurance
These are great retirement options for players to make sure they have the necessary plans in place for retirement as well as lifetime health insurance.
Who is the oldest person to play in the MLB?
The oldest person to play in the MLB is Satchel Paige at the age of 59. He made a single major league appearance on September 25th, 1965. This comes after taking a 12-year break after his major league career had ended.
Who was the oldest person to retire in the MLB?
The oldest person to retire in the MLB is Arlie Latham at age 49 years and 199 days. He played from 1880 through 1909 as a third baseman for the Buffalo Bisons, St. Louis Browns, Chicago Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators, and the New York Giants.
How Many MLB Players Retired in 2021?
There were approximately 41 MLB players that retired in 2021. Click the link for the full list