From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bill Conlin.

Kevin Millwood is not the first .500 pitcher Tom Hicks made a little richer. Ross Perot’s good buddy and fellow billionaire bought the Texas Rangers from George Walker Bush and his partners for $250 million in 1998.

As usual, Hicks (above) appeared to overpay. But is it overpaying when you’re always coming to the table loaded with the casino’s money, the public’s money or the cable subscribers’ money?

Baseball men wondered if Hicks would ever do business again with his Rangers “shadow partner,” agent Darth Boras, after the $252 million Alex Rodriguez contract launched the Rangers to last place.

But old Tom must be selling scads of premium-tier packages on the cable system that also

carries his Rangers and lots of other sports. He must be renting truckloads of those shiny little boxes that let you watch a recorded show while recording two more shows on different channels at the same time. And in the afternoon, instead of watching soaps you can watch all the HBO goodies you missed on demand. What a thing.

After Scott Boras burned him big-time on the Pudge and Alex Rodriguez contracts, Hicks swore up and down he would not lavish any more 5-year deals.

Then Kevin Millwood came along with that soft body and country way of sounding humble and sincere.

Kevin now stands as king of the mountain of wretched salary excess. With his numbers well-adjusted for inflation, his $60 million for 5 years is now the analog to Claudell Washington in 1980. At least Hicks didn’t buy the whole fifth year.