Bobby Bonilla played 16 years in the majors among multiple teams and nearly won an MVP award.
But the most famous part of his career is the contract agreement he made with the New York Mets in which he receives a deferred payment of $1,193,248.20 on July 1 each year through 2035.
The actual contract he signed went up for auction on Goldin and was sold for $180,000, including the buyer’s premium. The auction ended Saturday night.
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“This is a truly historic item and is like no other contract ever offered. This contract comes with a letter of provenance from Dennis Gilbert, stating that ‘I have been in possession of this contract since 1993 and guarantee this is Bobby Bonilla’s original copy,’” the description read.
The winner of the auction, who wasn’t revealed, will also receive a few other prizes as well, including a chance to spend the day with Bonilla, get breakfast with him, watch a Mets game and have dinner with him. The winner also receives a 30-minue Zoom call with Bonilla and Gilbert, who brokered the deal, a signed baseball from Bonilla’s collection, a game-used Bonilla bat and a 1/1 Bobby Bonilla contract NFT.
The winner will spend time with Bonilla some time next year.
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Bonilla was a six-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997. He joined the Mets for his first stint in 1991 and was traded in July 1995 to the Baltimore Orioles. The Marlins signed Bonilla in 1996, traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in May 1998, and he was traded back to the Mets six months later.
Toward the end of his final stint with the Mets, the two parties agreed on a contract buyout in 2000. New York still owed the slugger $5.9 million and agreed to pay him $1.1 million in annual installments from 2011 until 2035.
When factoring in a pre-negotiated 8% interest rate, the Mets owe Bonilla about $1.19 million every year on July 1. Bonilla, who hasn’t played in the major leagues since the 2001 season, will keep earning money from the Mets until he’s 72 years old.
Bonilla was considered one of baseball’s most feared hitters in his prime. But in his final stint with the Mets in 1999, he hit just .160 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs over 60 games.
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