On December 1, 1989 — Free agent pitcher Mark Langston reaches an agreement with the California Angels on a five-year contract worth $16 million, making the left-handed pitcher the latest highest-paid player in baseball history. The 29 year-old free agent, who had a combined 16-14 record with the Mariners and Expos last season, rejected Montreal’s three-year, $9 million offer last summer that would have made him the first major leaguer to have averaged $3 million a season.
Langston will win 5 Gold Gloves, be a 3-time all-star and finish 6th in Cy Young voting during the 5-year deal. In total, he will pitch for the Angels for 8 seasons winning 88 games with a 3.97 ERA.
Langston’s contract, which will contain a no-trade clause, will be the longest given a professional baseball player since Eddie Murray signed a five-year pact with the Baltimore Orioles in 1987 (Murray subsequently was traded to the Dodgers) and is the most lucrative guaranteed contract ever, surpassing the $13.6 million Dave Winfield was guaranteed by the Yankees in a 10-year deal before the 1981 season.
Langston also becomes baseball’s third $3-million man, joining Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett and Oakland’s Rickey Henderson in that elite group. He will get a $1.5-million signing bonus, a 1990 salary of $1.5 million and a salary of $3.25 million in each of the succeeding four years.