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