Happy Bobby Bonilla Day – if you’re retired baseball star Bobby Bonilla, that is. If you’re a New York Mets owner or executive, maybe not so much.
Friday marks the team’s annual payment to their one-time star, years after he left the game. It’s become something of an ironic fan holiday, one the team’s ownership has even acknowledged with a bit of good humor.
Who is Bobby Bonilla?
Bonilla played professionally from 1986 to 2001, including two stints with the Mets — 1992 to 1995, and then again in 1999.
A two-time All-Star with the club, he left before the 2000 season, with the team still owing him millions of dollars.
What is Bobby Bonilla Day?
That’s where the ersatz holiday comes in to play. The team struck a deal to defer the millions of dollars they owed Bonilla, with payments starting in 2011.
And, to his benefit, continuing through 2035.
Those payments of just under $1.2 million happen on July 1 every year, ergo the name Bobby Bonilla Day.
It’s that time of year again — the annual day that the Mets pay $1.19 million to a player who hasn’t been with the team in two decades, thanks to one of the strangest deals in sports history. NBC New York’s Bruce Beck reports.
The deal worked out spectacularly for Bonilla – he was due about $6 million in 2000, but with interest, by the time the deal ends he will end up having collected nearly $30 million.