What is Bobby Bonilla Day? Internet celebrates ex-Mets star's annual $1.2M payday as 'greatest deal' in history
Bobby's Bonilla's massive payday comes courtesy of the Mets' policy of deferred payments. Ponzi scheme perpetrator Bernie Madoff also has a role to play
While July 1 may be a cause for joy for many of us since 2020 is halfway over given the events of the year, the date is special to former Major League Baseball player Bobby Bonilla for different reasons. It's his annual payday courtesy of the New York Mets. As it turns out, the Mets are much worse at business than they are baseball -- from 2011 through to 2035, Bonilla will be receiving a paycheck worth $1,193,248.20 every July 1. Not bad for someone who has not played in more than 20 years!
What is Bobby Bonilla Day?
Bobby's Bonilla's massive payday comes courtesy of the Mets' policy of deferred payments. In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla's contract and instead of paying Bonilla the amount at the time, they agreed to pay the annual amount of $1,193,248.20 every year for 25 years starting from July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8 percent interest. You might be wondering, why would the Mets opt for a clearly loss-inducing deal?
At the time, the Mets were counting on investments they had made with Bernie Madoff to make Bonilla's payments. However, as you might have guessed, Madoff turned out to be the proponent of history's biggest Ponzi scheme -- a $65 billion scam encompassing thousands of investors that was uncovered in 2008. This left the Mets on the hook for a multi-million dollar settlement. This is not the only deferred payment that Bonilla is getting. The former baseball player has a second deferred-contract plan with the Mets. Moreover, the Baltimore Orioles pays him $500,000 a year for 25 years. Those payments began in 2004.
Why the internet is celebrating
With Bonilla's annual payments coming in, many took to social media to celebrate the former baseball player's deferred payments. Writer and activist Roxane Gay tweeted, "Bobby Bonilla Day always makes me smile." A user tweeted, "Here is your annual reminder that Bobby Bonilla and his agent finessed the New York Mets into the greatest deal in the history of all sports." Another user pointed out, "Bobby Bonilla's last MLB game was in 2001 and today the @Mets just paid him $1,193,248.20 -With the pay cuts players are taking due to COVID... Bobby Bonilla will be in the upper half of salaries this year...and he will not have a single plate appearance." Another shared, "It’s almost July 1st! May you have somebody to always watch your back, like Bobby Bonilla's agent did 19 years ago!" A user wrote, "It is July 1. The NBA is not starting [a] free agency. There are zero baseball games on. But there is some semblance of normalcy in the sports world... BOBBY BONILLA IS GETTING PAID TODAY."
Who else gets deferred payments?
Other than Bonilla, a few other players get deferred payments, albeit not as much as him. Bret Saberhagen will receive $250,000 a year from the Mets for 25 years and started in 2004. This was the inspiration for Bonilla's deal. Manny Ramirez will receive $24.2 million in total from the Red Sox through 2026. Bruce Sutter signed a deal with the Braves before the 1985 season with deferred money. He was to be paid $750,000 per year while with the Braves, then for 30 years after he retired, he'd receive at least $1.12 million per year. The Braves will be paying him through 2020. He received the $750,000 figure in 1989 and 1990 because he retired with two years left on the six-year deal, so his 30 years of the other installments didn't begin until 1991.