It’s not easy being rich if you are big league ballplayer, at least judging by the list of athletes who have declared bankruptcy.
The reasons vary – from bad advisors to profligate spending by young men ill equipped to be entrusted with millions of dollars. Even some of the game’s all-time greats have fallen on hard times.
In the past, we’ve looked at other athletes who frittered away their millions. Baseball player Lenny Dykstra was notable for his business of offering financial advice to other wealthy athletes.
With the World Series starting this week, we decided it was time to look at 8 Huge Financial Meltdowns by Major Leaguers.
8. Johnny Evers
Lifetime Earnings: $53,950
Evers’ name will live on as part of the Cubs infield of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, but we thought it was interesting that such an iconic player from baseball’s earliest day couldn’t escape bankruptcy. (So early, in fact that the Cubs were regulars in the World Series.) Evers retired in 1918, when that amount was worth more than $850,000 when adjusted for inflation. Of course, most ballplayers of that era had to work to provide for their families after they retired. Evers was no exception, operating a sporting goods store in Albany, New York. He filed for bankruptcy in 1936, but was able to keep the store and pass it to his descendants who kept in going into the 1990s.
7. Harmon Killebrew
Lifetime Earnings: $825,000
Playing in an era before the money got really big, Killebrew nonetheless did vey well for himself as he slugged more than 500 home runs for the Minnesota Twins on his way to the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, the man who by all accounts was decent and honorable wasn’t good at making financial decisions. Loans from four banks and Twins owner Calvin Griffith, as well as one co-signed by baseball star Reggie Jackson, left Killebrew in the red when a car dealership and car leasing business failed. Unable to make payments on his house, “Killer” as he was known, filed for bankruptcy in 1989, vowing to make good on his debts.
6. Gaylord Perry
Lifetime earnings: $1.6 million
Perry was famous for his 300 wins and admitting that he threw a spitball, even calling his autobiography “Me and the Spitter.” By athlete financial meltdown standards, Perry’s bankruptcy was relatively minor. He lost more than 400 acres of farmland he owned for 15 years to foreclosure in 1989. Perry, for his part, says he was going to give it up anyway. At the time, six years after his Hall of Fame 22-year career ended, he was mourning the loss of his wife in a car accident. Perry coached college baseball until he retired.
5. Scott Eyre