World of Sport

Baseball player rejects £7.5m salary

A baseball star has spurned his £7.5 million salary for the upcoming season because he doesn't feel he would be worth it.

Gil Meche, a pitcher with the Kansas City Royals, has chosen to retire rather than stay on the roster and take the team's cash since he is convinced he would not be able to offer any value to the team.

The 32-year-old, who has been plagued by injuries over the last 18 months, insisted that there was no way he could take the money again having started just a handful of games over the past two seasons.

And after becoming convinced that neither his shoulder nor his confidence would recover, he decided to walk away from the franchise rather than pick up his enormous pay cheque for sitting in the physio room.

"It's not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore," he said.

"I'm not trying to look good... I didn't want to go through that again, to be the guy making $12 million and doing absolutely nothing to help this team. Not when I can walk away, be with my family."

The former All Star pitcher will hardly be on the breadline: he signed a five-year, £35m contract before the start of the 2007 season, making him one of the best-paid players in the sport.

Yet his magnanimous gesture remains a rarity in sport, and everyone from ordinary fans to the Archbishop of New York have lined up to lavish praise on him.

And the man himself is certain he has made the right decision.

"A lot of people might think I'm crazy for not trying to play and make this amount of money," he admitted, "but I don't think I'm going to regret it."