The Colorado Rockies voted to give a full playoff playoff share to the family of Mike Coolbaugh, a former coach in their minor league system who was killed earlier this season when he was struck by a foul ball during a minor league game. Coolbaugh was the first base coach when a batted ball struck him in the neck and ruptured an artery. There was nothing that could be done to save him.
This week Colorado Rockies team decided to give a full playoff share from their bonus pool to Amanda Coolbaugh, Mike Coolbaugh’s widow.
What Are Playoff Bonuses? Playoff bonuses are a portion of the ticket sales from Major League Baseball postseason games, and are distributed to the teams making the playoffs. The players’ pool is formed from 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series and the World Series.
These gate receipts are then divided among 12 clubs: the World Series participants, the League Championship Series and Division Series runners-up, and the four regular season second-place clubs that were not Wild Card participants. Of course, the further you make it in the playoffs, the more gate receipts your team will share.
Bonus Distribution: Before the playoffs begin, the players vote playoff shares to players who were a part of the team during the regular season. They can vote for giving a player a full or partial share, usually depending on how long the player was with the team or how much he contributed to their success. It is even fairly common for partial shares to be given to players who were part of the team’s success early in the season, but were injured, sent to the minor leagues, or traded away mid-season and are not actually on the playoff roster.
Based on last year’s distributions, a full playoff share could be worth anywhere from around $30,000-300,000 depending on how well the Rockies do in this year’s playoffs.
This situation is special. Mike Coolbaugh was a minor league coach and was not a member of the big league club. He did however, coach some of the players who are currently on the major league team, and he was a part of the Rockies organization. Many organizations consider themselves to be part of a big family, and this is truly a case of the players showing selflessness and class.
This case is special because the players vote to determine how much of a share each player who was a part of the team’s success will receive. Players can vote to award a full share, partial share, or cash award. In this case, the team voted to treat Coolbaugh as a full member of their team and give his family the same financial bonus as the players who were with the team the entire season. This is truly a rare and beautiful gesture on their part.
I have a lot of respect for the Rockies players and their organization for thinking about the Coolbaugh family and including them in their playoff bonus. Mike Coolbaugh was only 35 years old and he left behind 2 young children, a pregnant wife who is expecting their third child this month. I know this will mean a lot to the Coolbaugh family. I wish them and the Rockies the best.
To see an example of how the playoff shares are distributed, here are the final awards for the 2006 Playoff and World Series Shares.