The World of Baseball vs the “World” Champion Texas Rangers


While only North America is represented in Major League Baseball (MLB), baseball is popular in many other countries. This article puts the world of baseball in perspective and compares the talent, the competitiveness, and the money earned by players in Major League Baseball teams versus teams in other countries.

The Texas Rangers are Baseball “World” Champions

For the first time in their 63-year history, the Texas Rangers are Major League Baseball World Champions – even though Canada is the only other country represented in the MLB. (The Blue Jays are based in Toronto, Ontario, and they are the only Canadian team currently in the MLB after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, D.C. in 2005 and became the Washington Nationals.)

In the 119th edition of the MLB championship, the American League champions Texas Rangers beat the National League champions Arizona Diamondbacks four games to one.

What Other Countries Have Professional Baseball?

While the MLB in the USA is often considered the pinnacle of professional baseball, there are leagues and teams outside the USA that are very good and competitive in their own right, particularly in Japan, South Korea, and various Latin American countries.

  • Japan (NPB – Nippon Professional Baseball): Japan’s professional league is widely regarded as the second-most competitive league in the world after MLB in the USA. It has produced numerous MLB players and is known for its high level of play, strong fan support, and unique baseball culture.
  • South Korea (KBO – Korea Baseball Organization): The KBO League is another strong league, known for its passionate fan base and competitive teams. While it may not be at the same level as MLB or NPB, it still features a high caliber of play and has also sent players to MLB.
  • Dominican Republic and Venezuela: These countries don’t have leagues on par with MLB or NPB, but they are known for producing exceptionally talented players who often make it to the MLB. Their winter leagues are quite competitive and are a hotbed for developing young talent.
  • Other Latin American Countries: Countries like Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico have strong baseball traditions and leagues. While not as competitive as MLB or NPB, they are still notable for their quality of play and contribution to the global baseball talent pool.

What Other Country Has the Most Players in the MLB?

Historically, the Dominican Republic has been known for having the second-highest number of players in MLB after the United States. This is due to the country’s strong baseball culture and extensive training facilities dedicated to developing young talent. Players from the Dominican Republic have made a significant impact in the MLB, often holding key positions in various teams.

Who are the Most Famous Dominican Republic Baseball Players in the MLB?

Here are some of the most famous Dominican players known for their impact on the game:

  • Pedro Martínez: A legendary pitcher, Martínez is known for his time with the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos. He is an eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner.
  • Juan Marichal: Known as the “Dominican Dandy,” Marichal pitched most notably for the San Francisco Giants. He was a high-kicking pitcher famous for his excellent control and variety of pitches.
  • David Ortiz (Big Papi): Ortiz is celebrated for his time with the Boston Red Sox as a designated hitter and first baseman. He played a crucial role in breaking the “Curse of the Bambino” and helping the Red Sox win multiple World Series titles.
  • Vladimir Guerrero: An exceptional hitter known for his ability to hit pitches outside the strike zone, Guerrero spent significant time with the Montreal Expos and the Los Angeles Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.
  • Albert Pujols: Pujols, primarily with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels, is known for his hitting prowess, including home runs and batting average. He is a multiple-time MVP and All-Star.
  • Sammy Sosa: Famous for his home run race with Mark McGwire in 1998, Sosa is best known for his time with the Chicago Cubs. He is one of the few players to hit over 60 home runs in a single season multiple times.
  • Manny Ramirez: Known for his powerful hitting, Ramirez had a successful career with teams like the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. He is a World Series MVP and multiple-time All-Star.

How Much Do Major League Baseball Players Earn?

Player salaries range from the league minimum to $30 million per season, and they also vary based on the number of years played.

  • Minimum Salary: The MLB has a minimum salary that all players must be paid. As of my last update in April 2023, this minimum was set at around $700,000 per year. This figure tends to increase periodically due to inflation and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Arbitration-Eligible Players: Players with three years of MLB service but less than six years are eligible for salary arbitration if they don’t already have a contract. In arbitration, the player and the team each propose a salary for the upcoming season, and an arbitrator chooses one of the amounts.
  • Free Agency: Players with six or more years of service time in the MLB can become free agents, allowing them to negotiate their contracts with any team. Free agents often command higher salaries, especially if they have a proven track record of performance.
  • Star Players and Long-term Contracts: High-performing players can earn significantly more. Star players often sign multi-year contracts worth tens of millions of dollars annually. For instance, players like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Gerrit Cole have signed contracts that pay them upwards of $30 million per season.
  • Incentives and Bonuses: Players can also earn additional money through performance incentives and bonuses, such as awards for All-Star Game appearances, MVP awards, or achieving certain statistical milestones.
  • Rookie Contracts: Rookies typically earn closer to the minimum salary, but their earnings can increase rapidly with good performance.

How Much Money Did Texas Rangers Players Make for Winning the World Series?

Upon winning the World Series, full-share Texas Rangers players received a $506K bonus from the Major League Baseball $107.8 million post-season fund.

baseball player holding money in his ball glove.

What is the MLB Playoff Bonus Fund?

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the post-season bonus fund is a pool of money distributed to players who participate in the playoffs. This fund is generated primarily from gate receipts (ticket sales) from post-season games, including the Wild Card games, Division Series, League Championship Series, and the World Series.

The distribution of this fund is typically governed by the collective bargaining agreement between the MLB and the players’ union. The fund is divided among the teams that make it to the post-season, with the shares varying depending on how far a team progresses. For example, players from the World Series-winning team usually receive the largest share, followed by the losing team in the World Series, then the teams eliminated in the League Championship Series, and so on.

Players typically vote on how to divide their team’s share of the bonus fund. Not only regular players but also coaches, trainers, and other club staff may receive a portion of the bonuses, depending on the team’s decision. The exact amounts can vary significantly from year to year, based on factors like the total revenue generated in the post-season and the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement.

How Much Money Do Baseball Players in Other Countries Earn Compared to MLB Players?

The salaries of baseball players in other countries vary significantly compared to those in Major League Baseball (MLB), with MLB generally offering the highest salaries. As previously mentioned, MLB players can earn substantially, ranging from the league minimum (around $700,000 as of 2023) to tens of millions of dollars per year for top stars. MLB boasts some of the highest sports salaries globally.

  • Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) – Japan: NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan and the second-highest paid baseball league in the world. Top players in NPB can earn salaries in the range of a few million dollars per year. However, the average salary is much lower than in MLB, often in the range of several hundred thousand dollars.
  • Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) – South Korea: In the KBO, the salaries are lower than in NPB. The top players might earn up to a million dollars or slightly more, but average salaries are typically in the lower six figures.
  • Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) – Taiwan: The CPBL has lower salaries compared to MLB, NPB, and KBO. The average salary is often under $100,000, with top players earning more but generally not at the levels seen in the MLB or NPB.
  • Latin American Leagues: Countries like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Mexico have professional leagues where salaries can vary widely. These leagues generally pay less than the major Asian leagues and much less than MLB. Average salaries can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, with only a few players earning more.

Do MLB Teams Play Other Countries’ Baseball Teams?

Major League Baseball (MLB) teams occasionally play against teams from other countries, but these instances are relatively rare and usually occur in specific contexts:

  • Exhibition Games: MLB teams have played exhibition games against international teams. These are typically friendly matches designed to promote the sport globally. For example, MLB teams have traveled to countries like Japan for exhibition series against Japanese professional teams.
  • World Baseball Classic (WBC): While not exactly MLB teams playing against other countries, the World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament featuring players from MLB alongside players from other leagues around the world. MLB players participate under their respective national teams, competing against teams from other countries.
  • Spring Training Games: Occasionally, international teams visit the United States to play against MLB teams in spring training games. These games are more about practice and cultural exchange than competitive outcomes.
  • Historic Events: There have been historic instances where MLB teams played against international teams. One notable example is when the Baltimore Orioles played an exhibition game against the Cuban national team in Havana in 1999.
  • Minor League Affiliates: Sometimes, teams from other countries play against minor league affiliates of MLB teams. While these are not MLB teams per se, they are part of the MLB team’s farm system.

Who Won When MLB Teams Played Other Countries’ Baseball Teams?

When MLB teams have played baseball teams from other countries, the outcomes have varied based on the nature of the games and the teams involved. Here are a few notable instances:

  • MLB vs. Japanese Teams: MLB teams have periodically played exhibition games against Japanese professional baseball teams. These matchups have seen varied results. For example, during the MLB Japan All-Star Series, which occurs periodically, both MLB and Japanese teams have experienced victories.
  • Baltimore Orioles vs. Cuban National Team (1999): In a historic game in 1999, the Baltimore Orioles played against the Cuban national team in Havana. The Orioles won this game with a score of 3-2, but it was closely contested, reflecting the high skill level of Cuban baseball.
  • MLB vs. Australian Teams: MLB teams have also played exhibition games against Australian teams. For instance, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks played a series in Australia in 2014, with both MLB teams winning games.
  • World Baseball Classic (WBC): In the WBC, MLB players compete under their national teams. The United States, with a roster often filled with MLB players, won the tournament in 2017. However, in other editions of the WBC, countries like Japan and the Dominican Republic (also featuring many MLB players) have won, showcasing the global talent in baseball.

Will the MLB ever expand Beyond North America?

What would happen if all the Dominican Republic baseball stars played for teams in that country and competed with the MLB? And would baseball fans be interested in expanding “America’s pastime” globally?

While the Texas Rangers’ World Series victory highlights MLB’s elite status, from Japan’s NPB to Latin American leagues, players worldwide exhibit remarkable talent and their teams can be competitive with the MBL. Historical matchups like the Orioles vs. Cuban National Team show the sport’s unifying power, underscoring baseball’s international appeal beyond the confines of North America.

And when the Texas Rangers defeat the Yomiuri Giants, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, or the Tigres del Licey, then they can truly be called world champions.