Of all the odd sporting festivals, July 1 — also known as Bobby Bonilla Day — may be the most significant to sports fans since it marks the annual tradition of the six-time all-star receiving compensation.
The Mets have given Bonilla a cheque every July 1 since 2011, despite the fact that he hasn’t played in the majors since 2001. This is a tradition that has become popular with fans and even the new team ownership.
The agreement was first made during the 1999 campaign, when manager Bobby Valentine and the then-36-year-old Bonilla frequently had disagreements while on the field. The Mets wanted to release him, but he still owed them $5.9 million under his contract. As a result, Bonilla and his agent pitched a deal to the team’s executives: He would leave if the Mets deferred his salary for 12 years at an interest rate of 8 percent per year and spread out the payment over 25 years beginning in 2011.
In a recent interview with the Action Network, Bonilla stated, “I always wanted to be able to spend money in retirement the way I did as an active player and that was essential to me.
Talks with Juan Soto have continued following a new offer for the Nationals standout.
Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon, former club owners, were intimately involved in Bernie Madoff’s financial scams for years. Through the late Wall Street financier, who masterminded the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, they earned 10 to 14 percent returns yearly. According to Bonilla’s plan, they could invest the $5.9 million that wouldn’t go to Bonilla with Madoff. They projected a $60–70 million profit from the deal, much above the $29.8 million they ultimately had to pay Bonilla over 25 instalments.
But three years before the payments were supposed to begin, Madoff’s plan started to fall apart. The Mets will now send Bonilla a cheque for $1,193,248.20 on July 1 every year through 2035.
Through a different deferred-contract arrangement with the Mets and the Baltimore Orioles, for whom he played from 1995 to 1996, Bonilla also receives additional compensation. For a period of 25 years, the payments, which started in 2004, offer $500,000 annually.
While acknowledging that “it’s very incredible how I’m probably more recognized for that transaction than the career I had,” Bonilla told the Action Network that he does not observe Bobby Bonilla Day.
“My text messages blow up” on July 1st, he added. It is considerably larger than my birthday.