Minor league baseball players are suing Major League Baseball, claiming unfair pay. But a new proposal in Illinois would protect independent leagues from a similar lawsuit.
The state’s minimum wage law applies to most workers, but there are a few exceptions: farm hands, children of small business owners, and outdoor salesmen to name a few.
Rich Sauget owns the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league team in the East St. Louis area. He wants his players, coaches, and trainers to be added to that list because “We can’t afford to have a situation that’s going on with major league baseball.”
Minor leaguers who play on teams affiliated with Major League clubs say they’re not getting paid for things like bus trips and batting practice.
The Grizzlies are in the Frontier League, which is independent from the MLB farm system. The league has six teams in Illinois, including the Schaumburg Boomers.
Sauget says the average stipend for his players is $800 a month. They get free meals after games and free housing. That all ends once the season’s over. To get paid to be a ball player again, they have to wait ‘til next year.
New legislation would make sure players and staff in the Frontier League are legally considered more like interns or apprentices. The proposal has so far received unanimous bipartisan support.