Nov 25, 1895: Story of Jakie May
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sun, 11/25/2012 - 7:00am
For a few dollars more
YOUNGSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA - A ballplayer by the name of Frank Spruiell (Jakie) May was born on this date in 1895. A few interesting things happened to him in the course of his 14-year major league baseball career, such as striking out Babe Ruth twice while pitching for the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series, but I bring him up mainly for comparison.
Jakie May was a dependable left-handed journeyman relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Cubs from 1917 to 1932. He appeared in 410 games, won 72 and lost 95. Salary figures back in the day for guys not named Ruth are hard to come by, but May probably made around $70,000 for his entire career. Don't even ask if Jakie May had to get a job when his playing days were over. He had to get a job every off-season, as did every other ballplayer (not named Ruth).
Let's compare May to a left-handed journeyman pitcher of the 21st century. How about Alan Embree? He played 16 years with a number of teams, most recently the Colorado Rockies, retiring in 2009. Embree appeared in 882 games (though about half as many innings as Jakie May) with a record of 39 wins and 45 losses. Embree was paid an average of over $2-million dollars each year this decade. He made over $22-million in his career. That's 314 times greater than what Jakie May made in his career. Certainly costs of everything have gone up. The average home price in 1930 was about $7,000 compared to $211,000 today. That's about a 30-fold jump - significant, but nowhere near 314-fold.
Needless to say, while neither pitcher was ever a candidate for the Hall of Fame, Alan Embree could get by without ever working again. Jakie May never stopped.
*Special thanks to Kirk Kruger of Raleigh, NC for the story of his great grandfather, Jakie May.
Happy Birthday to my dad, George Grimes Jr.
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