How Much Do MLB Umpires Make? (Ump Salaries)

How Much Do MLB Umpires Make? (Ump Salaries)

While players and coaches often receive the spotlight, there is another group of individuals who play a crucial role in the game: umpires.

These officials are responsible for making important calls on the field, ensuring fair play, and maintaining the integrity of the game.

But have you ever wondered how much MLB umpires make?

Here we’ll look into the world of MLB umpire salaries, exploring the factors that influence their earnings and shedding light on the financial aspects of their profession.

The Role of MLB Umpires

Before we dive into the details of their salaries, let’s first understand the role of MLB umpires.

Umpires are responsible for making decisions on various aspects of the game, including balls and strikes, fair and foul balls, and safe and out calls.

They work in a team of four, with each umpire having specific responsibilities on the field.

Umpires undergo extensive training and must have a deep understanding of the rules and regulations of baseball.

They are expected to have excellent judgment, quick decision-making skills, and the ability to handle high-pressure situations.

Umpires are also required to maintain professionalism and impartiality throughout the game.

Factors Affecting MLB Umpire Salaries

The salaries of MLB umpires are influenced by several factors.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors that determine how much they earn:

Experience and Seniority

Similar to many professions, experience plays a significant role in determining an umpire’s salary.

MLB umpires start their careers in the minor leagues, where they earn considerably less than their counterparts in the major leagues.

As they gain experience and move up the ranks, their salaries increase.

Umpires who have been in the league for a longer time and have established themselves as top officials tend to earn higher salaries.

Performance and Evaluation

MLB umpires are evaluated regularly based on their performance.

The league closely monitors their accuracy in making calls, adherence to rules, and overall professionalism.

Umpires who consistently demonstrate exceptional performance may receive salary increases or bonuses as a reward for their contributions to the game.

Union Negotiations

Umpires in MLB are represented by the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA), a union that negotiates on their behalf.

The MLBUA engages in collective bargaining with the league to determine umpire salaries, benefits, and working conditions.

The outcome of these negotiations can have a significant impact on how much umpires make.

Postseason Assignments

Umpires who are selected to officiate in the postseason, including the World Series, receive additional compensation.

These assignments are highly coveted and can significantly boost an umpire’s earnings for the year.

The number of postseason assignments an umpire receives depends on their performance and reputation.

How Much Do MLB Umpires Make?

MLB Umpire Salary Structure

The salary structure for MLB umpires is complex and consists of several components.

Let’s explore the different elements that make up an umpire’s compensation:

Base Salary

The base salary forms the foundation of an umpire’s earnings.

It is the guaranteed amount they receive for their services throughout the regular season.

The base salary varies depending on an umpire’s experience and seniority.

According to reports, the base salary for MLB umpires ranges from $110,000 to $432,800.

Per Diem

In addition to their base salary, MLB umpires receive a per diem allowance to cover their expenses while on the road.

This allowance is intended to cover meals, lodging, and other incidentals.

The per diem rate is determined by the league and is subject to change each season.

Benefits and Retirement

MLB umpires are entitled to various benefits, including health insurance, pension plans, and retirement savings options.

These benefits contribute to their overall compensation package and provide financial security for their future.

Offseason Opportunities

During the offseason, MLB umpires have the opportunity to work in other baseball leagues or participate in training programs.

These additional assignments can provide supplemental income and help umpires maintain their skills during the offseason.

Case Study: Joe West

To gain a better understanding of the earning potential of MLB umpires, let’s take a look at a case study of one of the most well-known umpires in the league, Joe West.

Joe West, also known as “Cowboy Joe,” has been an MLB umpire since 1976.

He holds the record for the most games umpired in MLB history.

Throughout his career, West has officiated in numerous postseason games, including multiple World Series.

His experience and reputation have contributed to his financial success as an umpire.

According to reports, Joe West’s salary in recent years has been around $500,000 per season.

This figure includes his base salary, postseason assignments, and other compensation.

It is important to note that this is an exceptional case, as West’s longevity and high-profile assignments have allowed him to earn a higher salary compared to many other umpires in the league.

How Long It Takes To Become an MLB Umpire

Becoming a Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire involves a multi-step process that can take several years.

Here’s a general path to becoming an MLB umpire:

  1. Education: The first step is to have a high school diploma or equivalent. It’s also beneficial to have a good understanding of the game of baseball, its rules, and regulations.
  2. Umpire School: The most direct route into professional umpiring begins with attendance at one of the two umpiring schools sanctioned by Major League Baseball: The Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School and The Umpire School. These five-week courses provide training in all aspects of umpiring and are typically held in January-February each year.
  3. Evaluation Course: Top graduates of these schools have the opportunity to attend an advanced evaluation course. This course, which is also overseen by Major League Baseball, usually lasts around ten days. This is the pool from which Minor League Baseball selects its new hires.
  4. Minor Leagues: Once selected, an umpire will start in the minor leagues, typically in Class A, then gradually progress through Double-A and Triple-A levels. It may take 7-10 years to move up through these various levels, and not every umpire will make it to the next level.
  5. MLB: If a position opens up in the Major Leagues and an umpire has shown the necessary skills and judgment, they might be offered a temporary (“call-up”) job filling in for a Major League umpire who is sick or on vacation. These temporary jobs can sometimes lead to full-time positions.

Please note that the timeline can vary significantly depending on individual progress, the availability of positions, and the assessment of an umpire’s skills by MLB.

Some umpires might reach the Major Leagues in less than 10 years, while others might take longer, or not reach the MLB at all.

Patience, persistence, and a love of the game are crucial attributes for anyone seeking this career path.

How Long It Takes To Become A MLB Umpire

FAQ: How Much Do MLB Umpires Make?

1. What is the average salary of an MLB umpire?

The average salary of an MLB umpire is around $150,000 to $450,000 per year.

However, it is important to note that salaries can vary significantly based on experience, seniority, and other factors.

2. Do MLB umpires get paid per game?

No, MLB umpires do not get paid per game.

Instead, they receive a base salary for the entire regular season, which includes a predetermined number of games.

3. How much do rookie MLB umpires make?

Rookie MLB umpires typically earn a lower salary compared to more experienced officials.

Their salaries can range from $110,000 to $180,000 per year.

4. Do MLB umpires get paid more for postseason games?

Yes, MLB umpires receive additional compensation for officiating in postseason games.

The exact amount varies depending on the round and significance of the game.

5. Can MLB umpires negotiate their salaries?

No, individual MLB umpires cannot negotiate their salaries.

The salaries of umpires are determined through collective bargaining between the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA) and the league.

6. Are MLB umpires full-time employees?

No, MLB umpires are not considered full-time employees.

They work on a part-time basis during the regular season and have other professional commitments during the offseason.

7. How long does it take to become an MLB umpire?

Becoming an MLB umpire requires years of experience and dedication.

Umpires typically start their careers in the minor leagues and gradually work their way up to the major leagues.

The process can take several years, depending on an individual’s skills and opportunities.

8. Do MLB umpires receive any bonuses?

MLB umpires may receive bonuses based on their performance, postseason assignments, or other exceptional circumstances.

These bonuses can provide additional income on top of their base salary.

9. Are MLB umpires allowed to have other jobs?

Yes, MLB umpires are allowed to have other jobs or professional commitments during the offseason.

Many umpires work in other baseball leagues or participate in training programs to enhance their skills and earn additional income.

10. How do MLB umpire salaries compare to player salaries?

MLB player salaries are significantly higher than umpire salaries.

While top players can earn millions of dollars per year, umpires’ salaries are generally in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


MLB umpires play a vital role in the game of baseball, ensuring fair play and maintaining the integrity of the sport.

Their salaries are influenced by factors such as experience, performance, union negotiations, and postseason assignments.

The salary structure for MLB umpires includes a base salary, per diem allowance, benefits, and offseason opportunities.

While the average salary of an MLB umpire ranges from $150,000 to $450,000 per year, individual salaries can vary significantly based on various factors.

Understanding the financial aspects of MLB umpires’ profession provides valuable insights into the world behind the scenes of America’s favorite pastime.


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