It's July 1, and that means MLB fans will celebrate a special occasion. This is the day when former MLB player Bobby Bonilla gets a little over $1 million from the New York Mets. Bonilla, 59, began receiving the money from the Mets in 2011 and will continue to get a big payday through 2035.
It's been over 20 years since Bonilla has played baseball. And while he's known now for getting $1 million while not playing, Bonilla had a strong MLB career. He played in the big leagues from 1986 to 2001 and was named an All-Star six times. Bonilla, who played third base and right field, won three Silver Slugger Awards and helped the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) win a World Series in 1997.
"My text messages blow up," Bonilla said on the Action Network. "It's way bigger than my birthday. And it's a fun day because it always brings a smile to my face. I was happy that I put the money away." Currently, Bonilla spends his time in Florida with his family. Here's a look at what to know about Bobby Bonilla Day.
How Much Does Bonilla Get?
On July 1, the Mets pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 and that has happened every year starting in 2011. Bonilla will continue to collect checks from the Mets until 2035 when he's 72 years old.prevnext
Why and How Did This Happen?
As mentioned by ESPN, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla's contract. But instead of paying Bonilla $5.9 million, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting on July 1, 2011, which also includes an 8% interest. At the time, the Mets ownership was invested in a Bernie Madoff account that promised big returns. But that didn't happen.prevnext
Bonilla 's Time With the Mets
Bonilla was a good player with the Mets, making the All-Star team in 1993 and 1995. In his five seasons with the Mets, Bonilla hit 95 home runs with 295 RBI's with a .270 batting average. But as well as he played with the Mets, he did most of his damage with his second MLB team.prevnext
Bonilla the Pirate
Bonilla spent six seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and hit 114 home runs with 500 RBIs and a .284 batting average. He was named to the All-Star team four-time and a three-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award.prevnext
Why Did the Mets Buy Out Bonilla's Contract
The Mets released Bonilla after the 1999 season due to his lack of production. One of the things that stood out was him sitting the clubhouse playing cards with Rickey Henderson during Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets lost the game in 11 innings.prevnext
What Do Fans Think?
Just a friendly reminder that - because of one of the absolute best contracts ever constructed - tomorrow is Bobby Bonilla Day, and every July 1st for the next 14 years. Cha-ching! pic.twitter.com/dY1c5Eonil— Rich Sandera ✈️ (@richsandera) June 30, 2021
Fans have some interesting things to say about the "holiday." One person wrote: "Actually he would have been much wealthier and smarter taking all the money up front and investing it wisely. If Bonilla accepted the one time $5.9 million buyout in 2000 and invested that money with an annual return of 8%, he'd have over $87 million. (5,900,000 * (1.08^35/.08)"prevnext
Not the Only One
Bonilla isn't the only former player who has a deferred-money contract. According to ESPN, Ken Griffey Jr. will get $3.59 million from the Cincinnati Reds through 2024 from his nine-year $116 million deal he signed in 2003. Also, Manny Ramierez will earn $24.2 million total for the Boston Red Sox through 2006.prev