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Bonus Record: Year-By-Year Progression

June 4, 2005

Signing bonuses have grown exponentially since 1965, when the draft was instituted ostensibly to . . . curtail the growth of signing bonuses. From a first-round average of less than $50,000 in the first several years of the draft, the average bonus grew to more than $2 million a few years ago before leveling off and actually declining. Following is a year-by-year breakdown of average first-round signing bonuses, the annual percentage change, the first overall pick in the June regular phase and his bonus, and the player who received the largest bonus (if other from the No. 1 pick), as compiled by BA founding editor Allan Simpson. The signing bonus average for first-round picks from 1965-82 includes the value of college scholarship plans and incentive bonus plans, in addition to the cash bonus paid. From 1983-2004, the amount represents only the cash bonus paid.

Year
First-Round Avg.
Change
No. 1 Pick
Bonus
Largest Bonus (Pick Number)
Amount

1965

$42,516

--

Rick Monday, of, Athletics

$100,000

same

1966

44,430

+4.5%

Steve Chilcott, c, Mets

75,000

Reggie Jackson, of, Athletics (2)

$80,000

1967

42,898

-3.4

Ron Blomberg, 1b, Yankees

65,000

#Mike Adamson, rhp, Orioles

75,000

1968

43,850

+2.2

Tim Foli, ss, Mets

74,000

Lloyd Allen, rhp, Angels (12)

75,000

1969

43,504

-0.8

Jeff Burroughs, of, Senators

88,000

same

1970

45,230

+3.9

Mike Ivie, c, Padres

75,000

#Dave Kingman, 1b, Giants

80,000

1971

45,197

-0.1

Danny Goodwin, c, White Sox

DNS

Ed Kurpiel, 1b, Cardinals (8)

83,750

1972

44,952

-0.5

Dave Roberts, 3b, Padres

70,000

Jamie Quirk, ss, Royals (18)

78,000

1973

48,832

+8.6

*David Clyde, lhp, Rangers

65,000

^Alan Bannister, ss, Phillies

85,000

1974

53,333

+9.2

*Bill Almon, ss, Padres

90,000

Willie Wilson, of, Royals (18)

90,000

1975

49,333

-7.5

*Danny Goodwin, c, Angels

125,000

same

1976

49,631

+0.6

Floyd Bannister, lhp, Astros

100,000

same

1977

48,813

-1.6

Harold Baines, of, White Sox

32,000

Paul Molitor, ss, Twins (3)

77,500

1978

67,892

+39.1

*Bob Horner, 3b, Braves

162,000

same

1979

68,094

+0.2

Al Chambers, 1b, Mariners

60,000

Todd Demeter, 1b, Yankees (51)

208,000

1980

74,025

+8.7

Darryl Strawberry, of, Mets

152,500

same

1981

78,573

+6.1

Mike Moore, rhp, Mariners

100,000

Terry Blocker, of, Mets (4)

127,500

1982

82,615

+5.1

Shawon Dunston, ss, Cubs

135,000

Kenny Williams, of, Wh. Sox (78)

160,000

1983

87,236

+5.6

Tim Belcher, rhp, Twins

DNS

Kurt Stillwell, ss, Reds (2)

135,000

1984

105,392

+20.8

Shawn Abner, of, Mets

150,500

Mark McGwire, 1b, Athletics (10)

145,000

1985

118,115

+12.1

B.J. Surhoff, c, Brewers

150,000

Bobby Witt, rhp, Rangers (3)

179,000

1986

116,300

-1.6

Jeff King, 3b, Pirates

180,000

same

1987

128,480

+10.5

Ken Griffey Jr., of, Mariners

160,000

Mark Merchant, of, Pirates (2)

165,000

Jack McDowell, rhp, Wh. Sox (5)

165,000

1988

142,540

+10.9

Andy Benes, rhp, Padres

235,000

same

1989

176,008

+23.5

*Ben McDonald, rhp, Orioles

350,000

*John Olerud, 1b, Blue Jays (79)

575,000

1990

252,577

+43.5

Chipper Jones, ss, Braves

275,000

*Todd Van Poppel, rhp, As (14)

500,000

Tony Clark, 1b, Tigers (2)

500,000

1991

365,396

+44.7

Brien Taylor, lhp, Yankees

1,550,000

same

1992

481,893

+31.9

Phil Nevin, 3b, Astros

700,000

Jeffrey Hammonds, of, Orioles (4)

975,000

1993

613,037

+27.2

*Alex Rodriguez, ss, Mariners

1,000,000

Darren Dreifort, rhp, Dodgers (2)

1,300,000

1994

790,357

+28.9

Paul Wilson, rhp, Mets

1,550,000

Josh Booty, ss, Marlins (5)

1,600,000

1995

918,019

+16.1

Darin Erstad, of, Angels

1,575,000

same

1996@

944,404

+2.9

Kris Benson, rhp, Pirates

2,000,000

Matt White, rhp, Giants (7)

10,200,000

1997

1,325,536

+40.4

Matt Anderson, rhp, Tigers

2,505,000

same

1998

1,637,667

+23.1

*Pat Burrell, 3b, Phillies

3,150,000

Corey Patterson, of, Cubs (3)

3,700,000

1999

1,809,767

+10.5

Josh Hamilton, of, Devil Rays

3,960,000

same

2000

1,872,586

+3.5

Adrian Gonzalez, 1b, Marlins

3,000,000

Joe Borchard, of, White Sox (12)

5,300,000

2001

2,154,280

+15.0

Joe Mauer, c, Twins

5,150,000

same

2002

2,106,793

-2.2

Bryan Bullington, rhp, Pirates

4,000,000

B.J. Upton, ss, Devil Rays (2)

4,600,000

2003

1,765,667

-16.2

*Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays

3,700,000

same

2004

1,958,448

+10.9

Matt Bush, ss, Padres

3,150,000

*Stephen Drew, ss, Diamondbacks

4,000,000

Jered Weaver, rhp, Angels

4,000,000

* Signed major league contract; cash bonus only reported.
# Selected in June secondary phase.
^ Selected in January draft.
@ Does not include four loophole free agents