“I decided I wanted to live the rest of my life as if I were an active player,” he told ESPN in 2012.
At the time, New York owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon had been heavily involved in Bernie Madoff’s investment schemes for years, earning 10 to 14 percent returns annually. Under Bonilla’s proposal, they would be able to take the $5.9 million that now wouldn’t be paid to Bonilla and invest it with Madoff, earning far more than the $29.8 million they eventually would have to pay Bonilla. A win-win!
So now, every July 1 until 2035, Bonilla will get check for $1,193,248.20 from the Mets. That’s more than a number of currently high-performing individuals across all of pro sports.
And here’s a little-known fact that ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin reminds us of: The Mets somehow aren’t the only team still paying Bonilla.
CBSSports.com reported in 2013 that Bonilla receives a separate payment for 25 years, which is the shared responsibility of the Mets and Baltimore Orioles and runs through 2028. The Mets reportedly are required to pay slightly more than half of the annual $500,000 sum, which stems from Bonilla’s original tour of duty with the Mets.
July 1 should be a national holiday celebrating smart financial planning. The end.