I'm more curious as to who the bottom teams are. While the top salary follows a typical bell curve, the bottom salary hardly budges over 20 years (comparatively speaking). I wonder if it's the same teams consistently at the bottom. For example, if the Pirates have basically the same payroll for 20 years, they shouldn't act so shocked that they stink. It's either time to change ownership, move the team, or close up shop. (20 years is NOT a small sample size. If you can't get something going in that long a time, maybe it's time to confront the elephant in the room.)
You can get to all of the data here: http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/m…
I find it interesting that, of the three REALLY low payrolls last year, one of the teams was terrible, one of them nearly won their division, and the other continues to be a perennial .500 team.
And they're all in the National League.
It would be interesting to see the same data expressed in percentages — as in: the lowest payroll was what percentage of the highest? A $14.4 million gap shown as a percentage would have one size bar if the two team salaries were $8 million against $22.4 million (the lower team salary being 35.7% of the higher) and quite another if the two respective payrolls had the same gap but were $64 million and $78.4 million (making the lower team salary 80.6% of the higher). It might make for a totally different looking chart.
According to that site, the 1998 Orioles had the highest payroll that year. In 1997 it was the Yankees with the highest.
ha… almost awesome