Bobby Bonilla Day

Next Monday, 1 July 2024

On July 1st, Baseball fans, particularly New York Mets fans, remember Bobby Bonilla Day and an arrangement that marks a slightly controversial and unusual chapter in sporting history. 

July 1st is the day that retired baseball player Bobby Bonilla receives his annual salary from the New York Mets, despite last playing for the club in 1999.

Panoramic image of the Mets stadium in New York, Citi Field, on a sunny blue-skied day
Citi Field - home to Bobby Bonilla in the 90s


Bobby Bonilla was a talented baseball player who played for several teams throughout his career, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also played for the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles. In 1991, he signed a five-year, $29 million contract with the Mets, making him one of the highest-paid players in baseball at the time.

However, by 1999, Bonilla's performance had declined, and the Mets were needing to free up their salary cap space. Rather than simply releasing Bonilla and paying him the remaining $5.9 million on his contract, the team's general manager at the time, Steve Phillips, came up with a creative solution. 

How much Bobby Bonilla gets paid

Phillips negotiated a deferred payment plan with Bonilla, agreeing to pay him $1.19 million every year for 25 years, starting in 2011. The deferred payments would also include an 8% annual interest rate, meaning that by the time Bonilla receives his final payment in 2035, he will have earned a total of $29.8 million.

A good deal?

This was a bad deal for the Mets, who ended up paying out more than was owed in the first place. They had anticipated making the payments with money that had been invested through Bernie Madoff, however, the investment collapsed when Madoff was arrested and charged with running the largest-ever Ponzi Scheme. The money was lost, but the deferred payment did allow the Mets to free up salary cap space in the short term, which they used to sign other players.

For Bonilla, the deferred payment plan was also an excellent financial move. By deferring his payments and earning interest, he was able to turn the $5.9 million he was owed into an incredible $30 million windfall.

Who is Bobby Bonilla

Bobby Bonilla is a retired baseball player who spent 16 seasons in the Major Leagues. Born on February 23, 1963, in New York City, Bonilla grew up in the Bronx and attended Herbert H. Lehman High School. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1981 and debuted with the team in 1986. Bonilla was known for his powerful hitting and ability to play multiple positions including Third Baseman, Rightfielder, and First Baseman, which made him a valuable asset.

Over the course of his career, Bonilla played for eight different teams and was named an All-Star six times. He was also a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and finished in the top 20 in MVP voting four times. In addition to his success on the field, Bonilla was also known for his philanthropy, particularly his work with underprivileged youth.

After retiring from baseball in 2001, Bonilla has largely stayed out of the public eye.

Laugh or cry!

Although you could imagine some baseball fans becoming irate at the idea of their club paying out cash every year to a retired player who has been absent for so long, the truth is many fans see it as a joke and an amusing anecdote in the history of their club. Many fans will post celebrations on social media with hashtags such as #happybobbybonilladay or #bobbybonilladay, some may even produce and send cards to share in the humor of it all.  

Baseball Facts 

  • The highest-paid players in the MLB 2023 season are Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, both of who have signed a contract that is worth $43,333,333 a year!

  • When it comes to overall career statistics, the all-time best scoring player in runs scored is Rickey Henderson with 2,295 runs. He played between 1979 and 2003.

  • In terms of the highest-scoring seasons, that record is held by Billy Hamilton of the 1894 Philadelphia Phillies, but his exact score in that season is contested with estimates putting it somewhere between 192 and 198.

  • The New York Mets have won the World Series championship twice in their history, first in 1969 defeating the Baltimore Orioles, and again in 1986 defeating the Boston Red Sox.  

Bobby Bonilla Day
Bobby Bonilla Day

Bobby Bonilla Day - Next years

Tuesday, 01 July 2025

Wednesday, 01 July 2026

Thursday, 01 July 2027

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