This Date In Baseball History- December 2, 1991- Bobby Bonilla signs a 5 year- $29 million dollar contract with the New York Mets making him up to this point in time the highest paid player in baseball history. This was all about timing- Bonilla wasn’t close to being the best player in the game at the time- but he was the best free-agent available in the 1991-1992 off season. Bonilla had been an All-Star the final four seasons he spent with the Pirates. The Mets were paying for his bat- his glove in right field was adequate at best.
Bonilla who grew up in The Bronx- was excited about coming home. His homecoming would be rocky at best. He got off to a bad start in 1992- and the New York press and fans went after him. After three and a half mediocre seasons he was traded in mid-season 1995 to the Baltimore Orioles.
The most fascinating part of this entire deal is what happened later. In 2000 the Mets still owed him 5.9 million dollars. Bonilla’s agent Dennis Gilbert struck a deal with the Mets- Bonilla would receive the money in deferred payments- beginning in 2011. Every July 1st- Bobby Bonilla Day- Bonilla gets paid $1.193 million- these payments go on until 2035. 29,8 million over 25 years.