Millions of Americans are in a celebratory mood as the calendar transitions into a new month. But along with the Fourth of July festivities, baseball fans are familiar with another event known as Bobby Bonilla Day.
Today, and every July 1 through 2035, Bonilla can celebrate as he will amass a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets.
Happy Bobby Bonilla Day.
**Bonilla hasn’t played for the New York Mets since 1999. But, until 2035, the team still has to pay him yearly increments of $1.19 million. https://t.co/ifEHizQlxC
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) July 1, 2020
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the number is actually $1.4 million and here’s why:
“Every year between now and 2028, Bobby will earn $1.4 million every July 1st ($1.2 million +225k from the two contracts). Then from 2028 through 2035 he’ll earn $1.2 million (because the first unusual contract will have run out).”
Who is Bobby Bonilla, and why is he still receiving payments?
The former MLB star and native New Yorker went undrafted out of high school during the 1981 draft. After hard work and continuous dedication to his craft, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed him to a Minor League contract.
Injuries left the young sensation unprotected by the Bucco’s in the Rule 5 Draft, so the Chicago White Sox snagged him and placed him on the 40-man roster in 1986. But he grew frustrated with the organization and was later traded back to the Pirates, where he occupied the outfield with fellow MLB bro Barry Bonds.
Bobby Bonilla turns 52 today. Here are some awesome pictures of him and Barry Bonds: pic.twitter.com/Lv7t3ZzhC3
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) February 23, 2015
He returned home to New York in 1991 after inking a five-year, 29-million-dollar deal with the Mets, making him the highest-paid player in the National League. He made two All-Star game appearances in the Big Apple but later got traded to the Baltimore Orioles over disagreements with the franchise.
Bonilla signed a free-agent deal with the Florida Marlins, who won the 1997 World Series and later got traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 1998 season.
The disgruntled outfielder got sent back to the Mets during the 1999 season, where he only played 60 games before his eventual release for altercations with manager Bobby Valentine.
He later joined the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals in his final seasons in the big leagues before retiring ahead of the 2001 season.
At the end of his career, Bonilla amassed 2,010 hits, 1,173 RBI, 287 home runs, six All-Star game appearances, and a championship.
Again, Bonilla last played baseball in 2001.
At the turn of the new decade, the Mets still owed Bonilla $5.9 million, but the front office didn’t want to pay him up front. So his agent worked with the organization, and both sides struck a deal by agreeing to deferred payments of $1.2 million for over 25 years that would start July 1, 2011, which includes an eight percent interest.
Why would the Mets agree to such a lucrative deal?
The Mets ownership had unsatisfied accounts with Bernie Madoff, the financier who ran one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history that promised double-digit returns for the organization who took a drastic hit financially. So, the Mets were kind of strapped for cash.
Bonilla according to reports has an estimated net worth of $20 million, but thanks in part to the lucrative contract, he and his family are set for life as the 58-year-old will collect payments until his 72nd birthday.
Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!!!