Thoughts on the Bryce Harper Contract

March 5, 2019

I don’t follow baseball closely and am one of the world’s only casual Phillies fans. Still, it’s almost impossible not to know that Bryce Harper is a five-tool generational talent that has Phillies fans buzzing with hope of future dominance.

Last week, he signed a record setting contract.  Not including huge endorsement income, he’s set to earn $330 million over the next 13 seasons, which comes out to roughly $25.4 million/year…$19 million after taxes. As a public education advocate, my mind instantly gravitates towards what that money could do for Philadelphia schools.

Harper’s contract is surely the culmination of tens of thousands of practice hours. Although the money may seem astronomical to a laymen like me, I’m sure there are times when he feels like he’s earned every penny he gets.

Therefore, I don’t begrudge Harper’s earnings.  We live in a capitalist society and his new contract is the embodiment of all that it stands for.  As a professional American athlete he is worth every dollar he can get, which is – in his case - no less than $330 million for the remainder of his playing career.

Harper, of course, has the right to spend his money however he wants. Still, the public school advocate in me hopes that he’ll choose to follow the Gospel of Wealth laid out by Andrew Carnegie 130 years ago. In this article, Carnegie argued that wealthy people should avoid extravagant spending, and instead - through philanthropy - work towards closing the economic gap between rich and poor.

According to Wikipedia, Harper is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an institution that annually requests 10% of their members’ pre-tax dollars.

I live in the shadows of the glamorous San Diego Temple where he was married and – having walked past it dozens of times - I’m positive that they don’t need any of his money.

Many of his new neighbors do, however, and I imagine god would happily endorse him helping them out.

Regardless of where Harper chooses to live, he will pass through some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country on his way to Citizen’s Bank Park.

The San Diego CAlifornia Temple.

The San Diego CAlifornia Temple.

Our government has long neglected these communities, and there might be no better way to helping their plight than assisting some of their schools, which are overcrowded and under-resourced. If Harper would donate 10% of his annual income to a Camden, Chester, or Southwest Philadelphia school, he could transform many childrens’ lives and still have over $16 million (not including endorsement money) to spend as he chooses.

His philanthropy would make him a greater hero in the community than he’ll ever be on the diamond, even if he leads the Phillies to a string of World Series championships.