I just watched a story on ESPN "Outside the Lines" about a baseball player who was killed in 1978. His name was Lyman Bostock and he finished his career through an untimely death. He wasn't your ordinary ballplayer. Let me explain:
When Bostock traded from the Twins (where he was making $20,000/year) to the California Angels - he was awarded one of the highest sports contracts in history - $2.25 million. He hit .336 in 1977 but was obscured by well known teammate Rod Carew.
Moving to the Angels, Bostock - with one of the best batting averages in major league baseball - fell into a slump - batting just .147.
Here is where it gets interesting: Bostock did not want his salary until he starting performing again. He wanted to feel that he earned his paycheck. When the club refused to stop his paycheck, Bostock gave almost all of the $36,000 to charity. From the story: "Though Bostock certainly craved the financial security that came with a high-priced deal, he knew what it was to live poor, knew he could be equally happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as he was with filet mignon. As Twins teammates overspent on fancy homes and luxury boats and snazzy automobiles, Lyman and Youvene lived in a simple one-bedroom apartment" Bostock's agent said.
His sports agent said "He wasn't after the most lucrative contract -- just the happiest lifestyle."
If you can, I recommend the ESPN article (or you can watch the video) at this website:
ESPN - "Fifth & Jackson"
I have added a new name to my list of heroes. Thanks ESPN for sharing this with me.