Bobby Bonilla

February 23, 1963

Bobby Bonilla, born on February 23, 1963, is a former professional baseball player who is known for his unique contract with the New York Mets. Bonilla played in the Major Leagues for 16 seasons, but it's his post-retirement contract that has made him a household name. Every year on July 1st, Bonilla receives a paycheck from the Mets for $1.19 million. This contract has been in place since 2011 and will continue until 2035.

Bonilla's Baseball Career

Bobby Bonilla began his professional baseball career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He quickly became one of the team's best players, earning six All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger Awards during his time with the Pirates. In 1991, Bonilla signed a lucrative contract with the New York Mets, making him one of the highest-paid players in baseball at the time. He played for the Mets for three seasons before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1995. Bonilla bounced around to a few other teams before retiring in 2001.

Over the course of his 16-year career, Bonilla was known for his power hitting and ability to drive in runs. He finished his career with 2,010 hits, 287 home runs, and 1,173 RBIs. Despite his impressive statistics, Bonilla was never inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Deferred Payment Contract

In 1999, the New York Mets released Bobby Bonilla from his contract with one year remaining. Instead of paying him the $5.9 million he was owed for the 2000 season, the Mets struck a deal with Bonilla. They agreed to defer the payment for a decade and pay him an annual salary of $1.19 million for 25 years, starting in 2011. This means that Bonilla will continue to receive this annual paycheck until 2035, at which point he will have received a total of $29.8 million.

The deferred payment contract is often cited as one of the worst contracts in sports history. At the time, the Mets were hoping to invest the money they would have paid Bonilla in the stock market and make a bigger profit than the $5.9 million they owed him. However, the stock market crash of 2008 resulted in the Mets losing money on their investment, while Bonilla continued to receive his annual paycheck.

Bonilla's Legacy

Bobby Bonilla's deferred payment contract has become a running joke in the sports world, with many fans and commentators referring to July 1st as "Bobby Bonilla Day." However, Bonilla himself has been able to use the contract to his advantage. He has been able to invest the money wisely and has even used some of it to help his family and community.

Despite the controversy surrounding his contract, Bonilla remains a beloved figure in the baseball community. He is often remembered for his contributions to the game, including his impressive statistics and his role in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 1990-1992 playoff runs.

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