'Bobby Bonilla Day' means $1.19 million payment for the retired Mets star

  • Bonilla gets paid annually through 2035.
  • The Mets agreed to the deferred payment deal after cutting him before the 2000 season.
The New York Mets celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 21, 2015, in Chicago.
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The New York Mets celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 21, 2015, in Chicago.

Every July 1, Bobby Bonilla has a reason to party, even if his former team doesn't.

That's because the New York Mets pay their retired slugger $1.19 million on that date—an arrangement that began in 2011 and runs through 2035—as part of a deferred payment agreement reached in 2000, ESPN reports.

The Mets released Bonilla, once one of Major League Baseball's highest paid players, after the 1999 season. Rather than paying him the $5.9 million the team owed him in 2000, they agreed to pay him later, and attach an 8 percent annual interest to the sum, according to contract details reported by ESPN.

Payments started in 2011, and to date Bonilla has collected $8.35 million, the website says. By the time the final payment is made in 18 years, Bonilla will have parlayed that initial $5.9 million into a total of $29.8 million, ESPN says.

Bonilla played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 and retired at the end of that season. Meanwhile, the Mets have gotten off to a rocky start this season, with their win/loss record mired below .500 and their National League playoff hopes dwindling.