Bobby Bonilla last played for the New York in 1999, but he is going to be paid 1.19 million dollars every year until 2035. The payday occurs every year on July 1st which has made today into sort of a Bobby Bonilla Day on social media. Players and teams deferring money is actually pretty common, so I am not entirely sure why the Bobby Bonilla thing gets made into a huge deal. I mean he turned 5 million dollars into 20 million dollars all for not being on the Mets. Pretty shrewd business move by Bobby Bo.
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News has a really good list of old players who are still being paid by Major League teams.
It's my first day off of school for the summer, so I took a little time today to flip through my cards and find a few really cool Bobby Bonilla cards. Mind you, I am not a Bonilla super collector, or even person out to find his cards, but his career fits within the time I have been collecting. I guess I am somewhat detached....
Here are my five cards.....
1988 Topps- First stop is a 1988 Topps card. I actually upgraded my 1988 Topps set that my parents bought me for Christmas when I was in fifth grade and found for a Topps Tiffany version for next to nothing. Literally close to nothing. I guess that Bobby Bonilla as a Pirate is probably the most memorable version of Bobby Bo actually playing good baseball. Although he was actually really good on the Mets, Marlins, and Orioles too. Dodgers, no. I flipped through all of my Pirates cards looking for his cards and could not find many with any sort of connection, so I went with the 1988 Topps card since I have a really loose connection to this card. The connection is that I work with a Pirates fan who walks around with a Topps Folder from the late 1980s with this card on the front. I couldn't find a picture of the folder lurking around the internet, but there are several others floating around on Ebay. They look like this in the packs.....
That Charlie Hough folder looks awesome. I wonder how many fourth graders that would scare at work? There is not a Cardinal in this set, but McGwire is in it on the A's. Maybe for next school year.
2001 Topps- Bonilla was briefly a Cardinal player at the end of his career for one year in 2001. His slash line was .213/.308/.339 with 5 home runs and 7 doubles in almost 200 at bats. That's not a great, nor memorable line, but Cardinals fan still love Bobby Bo. I am not going to rehash the entire story, just a little segment. Bonilla was brought in by the team to by a utility player and bat off of the bench. He was hurt at the end of Spring Training which forced the Cardinals to look at some players to fill Bonilla's role. The player he was replaced with at the beginning of the season? Albert Pujols. If the Cardinals placed an 8x10 photo of Bobby Bonilla inside the front gate of Busch Stadium I would be okay with that.
1986 Anything- Bonilla briefly played on the White Sox and then was traded to the Pirates for Jose DeLeon. Not many people really remember much about Bobby Bo as a Sox player, but his cards wearing the softball unis are awesome. I put up this picture of his 1986 Fleer, but there are a bunch of them would be worthy of your time and a few dollars on Ebay.
1997 Donruss Signature- Bobby Bo has one major certified autograph and it's this one. Not a great signature, but if you're a 1990s baseball card guy it's a pretty sweet autograph to buy. I have the fancier Century Marks card, but there are other version that are pretty cheap.
1994 Upper Deck- I think if Upper Deck had found away to get Bobby Bo to have some safety pins in his ears on this card it would be his ultimate card. His Topps card in 1994 is also quality, but this is a list of five cards. Bobby Bonilla on the Mets is somehow always said in a negative way. He was actually pretty good the first time around with the Mets. I know, it was not as good as the Pirates years, but OPS+ of 121, 133, and 128 is pretty good. Second time around on the Mets was a disaster.