10 Egregiously Bad Sports Contracts


1
Kevin Brown
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kevin Brown goes to work in a 2003 game against the Montreal Expos.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kevin Brown goes to work in a 2003 game against the Montreal Expos.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Kevin Brown was 33 years old in 1998; a free agent (for the third time) with 12 seasons of experience as one of professional baseball's most effective starting pitchers. As major league pitchers go, Brown was a bona fide veteran. His favored pitch, the sinkerball, was a modified fastball that's as arm-wrenching as any in the business. How many more seasons could he be expected play at this level before snapping a tendon or throwing out an elbow? Two, maybe three?

How about seven? That's the number the expert prognosticators at the Los Angeles Dodgers' headquarters came up with when drawing up a contract for the aging hurler. Seven years and a whopping, eye-popping, jaw-dropping $105 million, making Kevin "Old Man" Brown the first $100 million man in baseball.

Kevin Malone was the Dodgers' manager at the time, and even he doubts the sanity of the decision (funded by News Corp. cash) to extend a long-term contract to a guy nearing the end of his career.

"Did it make sense?" Malone told The New York Times in 2010. "No. Seven years for a pitcher is a lifetime. It's just scary, and any general manager who tells you it isn't, well, I'm not sure what calculations they are going by" [source: Brown].

Brown went on to pitch superbly for two whole seasons before tearing a muscle in his right elbow and injuring his neck in 2001. After that, he managed one more All-Star season for the Dodgers in 2003 before being traded to the New York Yankees and ending his career hobbled by injuries. In retrospect, the smarter money, and much less of it, would have gone to signing Brown for a three-year contract, but who could have predicted that a 33-year-old fastballer would get injured? Oh yeah, everybody.

Keep reading for lots more links on sports, entertainment and entertaining sports.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Associated Press. "Allan Houston retires after 12 seasons." October 17, 2005 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2194071
  • Baker, Bill. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. "When the New Orleans Saints drafted Ricky Williams ten year ago, it set the franchise back." April 19, 2009 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://blog.nola.com/saintsbeat/2009/04/history_shows_that_thennew_orl.html
  • Brown, Maury. The Biz of Baseball. "Saying Kevin Brown's 7-Year Deal with the Dodgers Was Bad Shouldn't Be Mystifying." January 4, 2011 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4990:saying-kevin-browns-7-year-deal-with-the-dodgers-was-bad-shouldnt-be-mystifying&catid=26:editorials&Itemid=39
  • ESPN.com. "Deal needs his approval, NFL's blessing." November 24, 2004 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1930434
  • ESPN.com. "Kobe's No. 24 is No. 1 in jersey sales." April 29, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5142370
  • Grossi, Tony. The Plain Dealer. "Cleveland Browns sued by former center LeCharles Bentley." July 22, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 28, 2011)http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2010/07/cleveland_browns_sued_by_forme.html
  • Johns, Greg. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Ryan Leaf pleads guilty, admits painkiller addiction." April 14, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlesports/2010/04/14/ryan-leaf-pleads-guilty-admits-painkiller-addiction/
  • Kirshenbaum, Jerry. Sports Illustrated. "Scorecard." March 19, 1984 (Accessed Feb. 28, 2011)http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1121853/index.htm
  • Maxim.com. "The Worst Sports Contracts." October 10, 2007 (Accessed Feb. 28, 2011)http://www.maxim.com/amg/sports/articles/56740/theworstsportscontracts.html
  • Morath, Eric. The Wall Street Journal. "Texas Rangers Owe Alex Rodriguez $24.9 Million." May 24, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2010/05/24/texas-rangers-owe-alex-rodriguez-249-million/
  • Nuemann, Thomas. "The worst contracts in NFL history." ESPN.com. February 19, 2009 (Accessed Feb. 28, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=contracts
  • Pasquarelli, Len. "Top pick Russell draws Chargers in first career start." ESPN.com. December 24, 2007 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3167941
  • Raber, Jonathan. "Michael Vick has most outlandish deal." ESPN.com. August 1, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=5428054
  • Rafael, Dan. "Mayweather win draws 1.4 million buys." ESPN.com. May 11, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=5180941
  • Spratt, Gerry. "Ryan Leaf, meet your replacement as biggest bust ever." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 6, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlesports/2010/05/06/ryan-leaf-meet-your-replacement-as-biggest-bust-ever/.
  • Spratt, Gerry. "Ryan Leaf: Quarterback, criminal… author?" The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. December 20, 2010 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlesports/2010/12/20/ryan-leaf-quarterback-criminal-author/
  • Stein, Marc. "Amnesty Clause FAQ." August 15, 2005 ESPN.com. (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&id=2112912
  • Wahl, Grant. "Anatomy of a Blockbuster." Sports Illustrated. January 17, 2007 (Accessed Feb. 27, 2011)http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/grant_wahl/01/17/beckham.qa/

UP NEXT

Indie Bookstores Defied Amazon. Who's Next?

Indie Bookstores Defied Amazon. Who's Next?

Indie book stores are making a comeback. HowStuffWorks checks out the resurgence and wonders what other businesses can beat back Amazon.


More to Explore