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09-02-2013, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
It would be hard to stick to a training regimen when you have a job in the off season though.

Quotes out of Esposito's book "Thunder and Lightning"

pg. 35 - "When my first daughter Laurie was born August 14, 1965 I wasn't at the hospital with Linda. I was working my shift at the steel plant. We were living with my parents at the time. I ended up working at that steel plant until I was 30 years old."

pg. 54 - In 1967 on his trade to Boston negotiating with GM Milt Schmidt: "I want $12,000 a year."
"Impossible" Milt said.

Eventually Esposito negotiated a deal that gave him $16,500 only because he hit his bonuses. This was the 1967-'68 season. Even taking inflation into account, there is no doubt that isn't enough to support a family especially since you aren't getting paid in the summer. He was working at the mill in the summer of 1967 as well. Probably did it the next year and the year after that. In 1970 the Bruins win the Cup, he is 28 years old at this time. Could have worked in the summer then as well. Maybe got some endorsements after that and perhaps (although this is speculation) he didn't have to work after that. He and Tony cancelled their hockey school in the summer of 1972 for the Summit Series. So when Esposito says he had to work in the summers until he was "30 years old" that isn't far off. He was 30 in 1972. Might have worked in 1971 when he was 29 at the steel mill.

It is very hard to believe in this day and age. Patrick Kane assaults a cabby for pennies, Evander Kane posts a picture of himself with a "money" phone. Even old coots like Alfredsson are turning down $4 million contracts. But this is not how the game always was. Red Kelly was a Senator in Ottawa (sort of like Congress for all you non-Canadians out there). Tim Horton had his own business, and we all know how that turned out.

There is a story of Wayne Cashman giving Bobby Hull free tickets to one of the Summit Series games. Bobby wondered why he was doing this and Cashman simply stated "Thanks to you my salary tripled". So yeah, up until 1972 it isn't hard to believe that players had to work in the off season. Esposito had a family at that time. Hard to believe, but it happened.
Beg to differ because $16,500 was certainly enough to support a family through 1970. Perhaps not in style, but certainly enough to rent an apartment and feed a family and buy and operate a car. I know because I did it on quite a bit less in Los Angeles, which is not the cheapest place to live, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was a poverty lawyer working in Watts and later Venice, and my salary was about $800 per month. I had two young children and my wife did not work. We could afford simple luxuries, like a diaper service! And I coud afford to go to hockey and association football matches whenever I wanted. We lived comfortably.

Using this inflation calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

$16,500 in 1970 had the buying power of $99,338.51 in 2013 dollars. My 1970 salary of $9,600 had the buying power of $57,796.95 in 2013 dollars. Things were a whole lot cheaper back in the day.

Edit: Maurice Richard's last salary, his highest, of $25,000 in 1959 works out to $200,683.85 in present day dollars. Of course, Richard lived in Canada, but I believe the Canadian dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar then.

Heh, heh. I remember my teacher in grade school in rural Ontario (near Keswick on Lake Simcoe, then populated year round mostly by the very poor) reading us a news story during the daily "current events" session we had back in 1953. It seemed garbage men (now sanitation workers) in New York City had negotiated a salary of $100 per week. My teacher, the best I ever had, said he wished he was a garbage man in New York City. He was probably getting $50 per week.

Last edited by Peter9: 09-02-2013 at 03:47 PM.
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