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Torre should have looked over the fence

By A. James Memmott

November 3, 2007 at 9:59am

Baseball has been very good to Joe Torre, but would he have been better off managing another sport?

A look at the numbers suggests that Torre, who yesterday signed a $13.5 million contract to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years, might have done better on another sideline.

Granted $4.5 million a year isn’t bad, even if it’s a drop from the $7.5 million a year he got from the Yankees for 2007.

And it’s down from the $5 million base pay Torre would have gotten from the Yankees if he had accepted a contract for 2008. (That contact included incentives that could have meant an addition $3 million.)

However, at $4.5 million a year, Torre continues to have the highest salary of any manager in baseball. The Chicago Cubs‘ Lou Pinella is second at a reported $3.5 million a year.

But while it’s obvious that a person can make a good living as a Major League Baseball manager, the bottom line is that the megabucks managerial money is elsewhere.

Today in London, Arsenal took on Manchester United in the England’s Premier League, perhaps the most watched and lucrative football (soccer) league in the world. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. The teams remain tied for first place, though Arsenal has played one fewer game.

Arsene Wegner, the manager of Arsenal, and Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, are said to be each making at least $8 million a year.

Jose Mourinho, the self-declared “special one” who resigned from coaching Chelsea in the Premier League this year after a dispute with management was probably making $10 million a year.

Back in the U.S., leaders in the other kind of football make good money, as well.

Mike Holmgren, coach of the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League, will reportedly make $8 million this season, $9 million next. That makes him the highest paid coach in the league.

Bill Belichick, the coach of the highly successful New England Patriots in the National Football League, just signed a contract extension that reportedly takes him through the 2013 season. He had been making a reported $4.2 million a year, and estimates now are that he’s between $6 million and $8 million a year.

At least four other coaches in the league are said to make at least $5 million a year.

Coaches in the National Basketball Association do as well, or even better, than coaches in the NFL.

The highest paid NBA coach, Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, is said to make between $7 million and $10 million a year. Several other coaches are making at least $5 million a year.

Of course, all of these coaches are still making less than the star players on their teams.

At least five NBA players are making over $20 million a year. And the average salary for players in the league is $5.356 million, the highest of any professional sports league.

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