Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Repp, Alan C.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Baseball players--Salaries; etc.--History; Performance awards--History; Wages--Advances--History


During the past few years, the world of professional sports, especially Major League Baseball, has seen an influx of players negotiating very large salaries. In 1991, salaries broke the five million dollar mark. Most people are highly motivated by a salary this large; consequently, their production or performance, in this case, improves. Typically, a large salary increase is viewed as reinforcing. The following study examines whether or not large salary increases act as reinforcers. To go about examining this notion, several baseball players were chosen and rated on different dimensions. The treatment groups were comprised of pitchers and non-pitchers who received a 100% salary increase from one year to the next. Control groups were made up of pitchers and non-pitchers who received less than a 100% salary increase. Pitchers were rated on the following five dimensions: games, innings pitched, wins, saves and losses, earned run average and a few performance criteria. Non-pitchers were rated on the following twelve dimensions: games, batting average, slugging percentage, home run percentage, walks percentage, steals, runs batted in/slugging percentage, position played, range factor, double plays/assists, hitting and a corrective reduction. Then, players were grouped according to the year of the salary increase and corresponding data were averaged. For eight of the twelve data sets, an analysis of variance was performed. Results of the ANOVA's indicate four significant data sets. The 1988 control pitcher group showed a significant increase in score from 1987 (6.48) to 1988 (8.85). On the other hand, the 1989 treatment pitcher group showed a significant decrease in score from 1988 (10.55) to 1989 (8.15) and from 1988 (10.55) to 1990 (6.42). Two additional data sets were significant. Both the 1988 treatment and control non-pitchers showed significant decreases in score from 1987 to 1988 and from 1987 to 1989. Paired samples t-tests were run on the remaining four data sets. No significance was found for any of the groups. In conclusion, the data indicate that performance peaks the year preceding the raise; consequently, salary increases do not function as reinforcers for this subject group.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-34).


vi, 63 pages




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