Tha Sports Junkies 101

Bobby Bonilla Still Making Money Off MLB

Bobby Bonilla beisbolsinaloa via

MLB – Bobby Bonilla

Former MLB Star Still Getting Paid By the Mets

Bobby Bonilla played 15 seasons in the majors and was once the highest paid player in the game. It was well deserved as Bonilla racked up 3 silver slugger awards, six All-star game selections and a World Series ring.

Bonilla retired in 2001 but that does not mean he has stopped making money. In 1991, Bonilla signed a 5 year, $29 million deal with the New York Mets. At the time of the signing, Bonilla was arguably the best baseball player.

As Bonilla started to decline in production, he started getting shipped around the major leagues. He eventually ended up back with the Mets in 1999 and that is when things get interesting.

In 2000, after the Mets lost the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets wanted rid of Bonilla. He was aging and his legs were leaving him. The only problem with letting Bonilla go was that the Mets still owed him around $5.9 million.

When Bonilla realized that he was only due to receive another $5.9 million in his major league career, he got nervous. He had blown through most of his major league earnings and still had another 50 years to live. The deal that eventually worked out would set Bonilla for the rest of his life.

Bonilla and the Mets worked out a deal that they would release him and defer the money they owed him for 11 years. By the time of the first payment, the Mets would owe Bonilla around $29.8 million.

The two sides worked it out so that the Mets would make 25 annual payments of $1.192 million every July 1st. The deal expires in the year 2035. Every July 1st since 2011 has been known to many sports fans as Bobby Bonilla Day.

The reasoning behind the great deal that Bonilla got actually had something to do with Bernie Madoff. Mets owner Fred Wilpon invested the $5.9 million owed to Bonilla in a hope that it would return around $60 million by the time Bonilla was owed money. In 2008, when Madoff was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme, Wilpon lost around $700 million.

Wilpon’s misguided investing techniques worked into Bonilla’s favor and now has him living the good life.