San Diegans make up 10 percent of the top-50 money- earning American athletes over the past year, Sports Illustrated magazine reported Monday. Former baseball player Barry Zito, ranks 36th on the list. El Cajon native and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, ranks 33rd.
The five local members of SI's "Fortunate 50" are:
– golfer Phil Mickelson (number 2);
– baseball player Adrian Gonzalez (number 25);
– NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson (number 33);
– Zito (number 36); and
– football player Arian Foster (number 39).
Zito, who also played baseball at the old University of San Diego High School, made $20 million last year – all but $1 million from a $126 million contract he signed with the San Francisco Giants six years ago, according to Sports Illustrated.
Mickelson, a San Diego native who now lives in Rancho Santa Fe, made $60.8 million last year, nearly all from endorsements. Golf.com reports that his major sponsors include Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf, KPMG, Barclays, Rolex and Exxon Mobil.
Gonzalez, a former San Diego Padre who grew up in Chula Vista and Tijuana, made $22.4 million, nearly all of it in salary from the contract he signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Johnson, an El Cajon native, brought home $21 million, including nearly $6.3 million in winnings on the racing circuit and about $14.7 million in endorsements, according to Sports Illustrated.
Foster, who attended Mission Bay High School, earned $18 million in a front-loaded contract with the Houston Texans, plus $1.75 million in endorsements, according to SI.
Nonprofits around San Diego County have benefited through the athletes. Mickelson, Gonzalez, Johnson and Zito each actively support area charities.
The magazine obtained data on salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees from players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Endorsement estimates were supplied by Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents.
The salary figures were based on current or most recently completed seasons for team sports. For individual sports like golf and auto racing, the earning were from the 2011 calendar year.
– City News Service contributed to this story.