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Belle-ish ballpark figures

THE BALTIMORE SUN

You may have heard that Albert Belle of the Chicago White Sox, who has managed to parlay his peculiar combination of baseball talent and sociopathic behavior into a paycheck of $10 million a year, is now earning more than the entire 25-man roster of the stripped-down Pittsburgh Pirates ($9 million).

This is a remarkable development, to be sure. For one thing, it means Belle can afford to field his own team and still earn a million bucks a year. But how does $10 million a year really stack up? It all depends on how you look at it:

It's 26,316 times the world's lowest per-capita gross domestic product (Ethiopia, $380).

Michael Jordan makes three times that ($30.14 million) playing half as many games of basketball.

It's enough per game ($61,728) to buy 519 families of four tickets and a bite to eat ($119) at an Orioles game.

Super-nerd Bill Gates (net worth $20 billion or so) spent that much on spec changes for his new house ($50 million-plus).

Vietnamese workers who put together Nike athletic shoes for $1.60 a day could earn it after 20,000 years.

Oprah ($171 million annually) makes that much in about three good weeks.

Michael Ovitz, who struck out at Disney, parachuted out with about 13 times that ($130 million) when he was fired.

Bill Clinton had to sit through at least 25 White House "coffees" ($400,000 per) to earn that much for the Democratic war chest.

And if you decided to really stack it up, you'd be at it a while. Ten million $1 bills would stand almost a mile high.

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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