Through his 16 years in professional baseball, Bonilla accumulated a .279 batting average, with a .358 OBP and a .472 slugging. He was also part of the Florida Marlins team that won the 1997 World Series. Bonilla led the league in extra base hits (78) during the 1990 MLB season and doubles (44) during the 1991 MLB season. He also participated in six MLB All-Star Games and won three Silver Slugger Awards.
From 1992 to 1994, Bonilla was the highest-paid player in the league, earning more than $6 million per year. Since 2009, Bonilla has been paid approximately $1.19 million by the New York Mets each year and is the poster boy for the mutually beneficial practice among MLB teams of deferring contractual payments until well after the player has retired.  The 25 payments come every July 1, which some media members refer to as "Bobby Bonilla Day". This was part of a deal made when the Mets released Bonilla before the 2000 season while still owing him $5.9 million for the final year of his contract. The deal expires in 2035, at which point Bonilla will have been paid $29.8 million for a season in which he did not even play for the Mets.
|Third baseman / Right fielder|
|Born: February 23, 1963|
The Bronx, New York
|April 9, 1986, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 2001, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||1,173|
|Career highlights and awards|
Bonilla played baseball at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx and graduated in 1981. He was not selected in the 1981 Major League Baseball draft and spent a semester at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York pursuing a degree in computer science. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates after being spotted by scout Syd Thrift at a baseball camp in Europe.
His rise through the Pirates' farm system came to a halt during spring training in 1985 when he broke his right leg in a collision with teammate Bip Roberts. The Chicago White Sox then acquired him through the Rule 5 draft during the 1985–86 offseason, and Bonilla made his major league debut with the White Sox at the start of the 1986 season. Syd Thrift, then the Pirates' General Manager, reacquired the unhappy Bonilla in exchange for pitcher José DeLeón later that year. Bonilla also played from 1984 to 1988 with the Mayagüez Indians of the Puerto Rican Winter League.
Bonilla became the Pirates' starting third baseman in 1987, but after committing 67 errors over his next two seasons, manager Jim Leyland moved him to right field. There he formed a formidable combination alongside stars Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke and helped propel the Pittsburgh Pirates to two of their three straight NL East titles from 1990 to 1992.
From 1986 to 1991, Bonilla had a .284 batting average, with 868 hits, 191 doubles, 114 home runs, and 500 runs batted in (RBIs). He led the league in extra base hits in 1990, and in doubles in 1991. Bonilla also made the All-Star team four years in a row. On October 28, 1991, he became a free agent.
Bonilla became the highest-paid player in the league at the time when he signed a 5-year, $29 million contract ($51.8 million today) with the New York Mets on December 2, 1991. However, Bonilla's offensive production diminished somewhat, finishing with a .278 batting average, 91 home runs, and 277 runs batted in during his three-and-a-half-year tenure with the Mets. Despite this, Bonilla ended up participating in two more All-Star Games (1993 and 1995).
Bonilla's time with the Mets was most noted for his contentious relationship with the New York baseball media. In his introductory press conference after signing with the organization, he challenged them by stating, “I know you all are gonna try, but you’re not gonna be able to wipe the smile off my face.” A number of incidents soon followed, such as threatening sportswriter Bob Klapisch that he would "show him the Bronx" in response to his book on the 1992 Mets, The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets (ISBN 978-0803278226). On another occasion, he called the press box during a game to complain about an error that he was charged with.
Bonilla was acquired along with a player to be named later (Jimmy Williams on August 16) by the Baltimore Orioles from the Mets in exchange for Damon Buford and Alex Ochoa on July 28, 1995, and helped the Orioles to the American League Championship Series in 1996.
Following the 1996 season, Bonilla was once again granted free agency and signed with the Florida Marlins, reuniting with his old manager, Jim Leyland, where he helped the Marlins win the 1997 World Series. He returned with the Marlins for the 1998 season and batted .278 through 18 games.
On May 14, 1998, Bonilla was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with Manuel Barrios, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield, in exchange for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. Bonilla spent the rest of the 1998 season with the Dodgers, batting .237, with seven home runs and 30 runs batted in.
In November 1998, the New York Mets reacquired Bonilla from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Mel Rojas. Again, his level of play did not measure up to expectations and he had numerous clashes with manager Bobby Valentine over lack of playing time. His tenure in New York culminated in an infamous incident during Game Six of the 1999 NLCS where the Mets were eliminated by the Braves in an 11-inning game while Bonilla reportedly sat in the clubhouse playing cards with teammate Rickey Henderson.
After his subpar 1999 season, the Mets released Bonilla, but still owed him $5.9 million. Bonilla and his agent offered the Mets a deal: Bonilla would defer payment for a decade, and the Mets would pay him an annual paycheck of $1.19 million starting in 2011 and ending in 2035, adding up to a total payout of $29.8 million. Mets owner Fred Wilpon accepted the deal mostly because he was heavily invested with Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff then, and the 10 percent returns he thought he was getting on his investments with Madoff outweighed the eight percent interest the Mets would be paying on Bonilla's initial $5.9 million. As a result, the payout was a subject of inquiry during the Madoff investment scandal investigation when it came to light in 2008.
Bonilla signed with the Braves in 2000 and played a mostly uneventful 114 games for them. He did achieve his highest batting average (.255) since the 1997 season, although he hit only five home runs, a far cry from his career high of 34.
In 2001, he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, but injuries reduced his playing time. He played his final game on October 7, 2001 and finished the season with a .213 average, 37 hits, five home runs, and 21 runs batted in. He officially retired after the season finished citing "injuries and reduced playing time" as the main reason for his decision.
Overall, Bobby Bonilla finished his career with one championship, six All-Star appearances, and career statistics of 2,010 hits, 287 home runs, 1,173 runs batted in, and a career .279 batting average.
In February 1992, Bonilla and his wife Millie started the Bobby and Millie Bonilla Public School Fund with $35,000. The fund will benefit different schools attended by Bonilla and his wife, by contributing $500 for every run the slugger batted in for the Mets. Bonilla has also participated in other charity events, like the Players Trust All-Star Golf Tournament, organized by Dave Winfield and Joe Mauer in 2014.
| National League Player of the Month
April & May 1988
The 1986 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 87th season. They finished with a record 72-90, good enough for 5th place in the American League West, 20 games behind of the 1st place California Angels.1988 Caribbean Series
The thirstiest edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was held from February 3 through February 8 of 1988 with the champion baseball teams of the Dominican Republic, Leones del Escogido; Mexico, Potros de Tijuana; Puerto Rico, Indios de Mayagüez, and Venezuela, Leones del Caracas. The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice, and the games were played at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 59th playing of the "Midsummer Classic" between Major League Baseball's American League (AL) and National League All-Star teams. The All-Star Game was held on July 12, 1988, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home of the NL's Cincinnati Reds.
The game resulted in the AL defeating the NL 2-1. Terry Steinbach, a catcher for the AL's Oakland Athletics, won the All-Star game's most valuable player award. Steinbach was credited with both of the AL's two runs in the game. Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins was the winning pitcher.1990 National League Championship Series
The 1990 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds (91–71) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (95–67). It was the first playoff appearance for both teams since 1979 and the fifth NLCS meeting overall with Cincinnati winning the Pennant in 1970, 1972, and 1975 while Pittsburgh won in 1979.
The Reds won the series, 4–2, and eventually went on to sweep the defending World Champion Oakland Athletics in the World Series. This was the only NLCS during the 1990s that did not feature the Atlanta Braves and was the first of four straight to feature either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Between Game 2 (in Cincinnati) and Game 3 (in Pittsburgh), the teams took two days off instead of the usual one. That Sunday, October 7, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to use Three Rivers Stadium for their scheduled game against the San Diego Chargers, so Game 3 (and by extension, the rest of the series) was pushed back a day.1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 62nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1991, at SkyDome in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League. It was only the second time that the game was played outside the United States, as the National League's Montreal Expos hosted the 1982 Midsummer Classic at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 4-2. Both the winning and losing pitchers represented the Canadian teams; the Blue Jays' Jimmy Key earned the win while the Expos' Dennis Martínez was given the loss. This was also the only All-Star Game to be awarded by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who awarded the game to the Blue Jays on Canada Day 1989.1992 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1992 season was the 31st regular season for the Mets. The Mets entered the season attempting to improve on their 1991 season, where due in part to a second half collapse they finished 78-84 and recorded their first losing record since 1983. All 81 of the Mets' home games were played at Shea Stadium.1993 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1993 season was the 32nd regular season for the Mets. The team sought to improve on its 72-90 mark from 1992. Instead, the Mets slid back and for the first time since 1967 lost 100 games. The Mets finished with a 59-103 record, their fifth worst in history, and finished last place in the NL East. They played all of their home games at Shea Stadium. As of 2018, this was the most recent 100-loss season for the Mets.1995 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1995 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing 3rd in the American League East with a record of 71 wins and 73 losses.1995 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1995 season was the 34th regular season for the Mets. They went 69-75 and finished 2nd in the NL East. They were managed by Dallas Green. They played home games at Shea Stadium.1996 American League Division Series
The 1996 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 1996 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 1, and ended on Saturday, October 5, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Cleveland Indians (Central Division champion, 99–62) vs. (4) Baltimore Orioles (Wild Card, 88–74): Orioles win series, 3–1.
(2) Texas Rangers (Western Division champion, 90–72) vs. (3) New York Yankees (Eastern Division champion, 92–70): Yankees win series, 3–1.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field "advantage" was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. Had the 1996 ALDS been played under the 1998-2011 arrangement, then Cleveland (1) would have still faced off against Baltimore (4) and New York (2) would have likewise still faced off against Texas (3) but would also have had home field advantage. Under the format adopted in 2012, which removed the prohibition against teams from the same division meeting in the Division Series, the matchups also would have been Cleveland-Baltimore and New York-Texas, with the Yankees having home field advantage.
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees went on to meet in the AL Championship Series (ALCS). The Yankees became the American League champion, and defeated the of National League champion Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series.1997 Florida Marlins season
The Florida Marlins' 1997 season was the 5th season for the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in the National League. It would begin with the team attempting to improve on their season from 1996. Their manager was Jim Leyland. They played home games at Pro Player Stadium. They finished with a record of 92-70, posting the first winning season in franchise history and winning the NL Wild Card. They got through the National League playoffs and won the World Series over the Cleveland Indians.1998 Florida Marlins season
The Florida Marlins' 1998 season was the 6th season for the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in the National League. It would begin with the team attempting to defend their World Series Champion title, having won the title in 1997. Their manager was Jim Leyland. They played home games at Pro Player Stadium, and finished with a record of 54–108, last in the NL East. The team is notable for having arguably the biggest fire sale in sports history, auctioning off nearly all of their most notable players. The 1998 Marlins were the first defending World Series champions to finish last in their division. After winning on opening day against the Chicago Cubs, the Marlins would lose 11 straight, the most consecutive losses by a reigning champion. The Marlins would finish 0-9 against 3 teams: Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. The 1998 Marlins are the last team in baseball history to finish winless against 3 separate opponents.1998 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1998 season saw the sale of the franchise from Peter O'Malley to the Fox Entertainment Group take effect. The new corporate executives would quickly anger Dodger fans when they bypassed General Manager Fred Claire and made one of the biggest trades in franchise history. They traded All-Star catcher Mike Piazza and starting third baseman Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for a package that included Gary Sheffield.
The team on the field performed poorly under all the stress and soon Fox fired Claire and manager Bill Russell, replacing them with former Manager Tommy Lasorda, who was appointed interim GM and Minor League manager Glenn Hoffman who took over for Russell. The team limped along to finish in third place in the National League West and more changes were in the offing for the following season.1999 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1999 season was the 38th regular season for the Mets. They went 97-66 and finished 2nd in the NL East but won the NL Wild Card by beating the Cincinnati Reds in a one game playoff. The Mets advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they were defeated by the Atlanta Braves in 6 games.
The Mets were managed by Bobby Valentine, who entered his fourth year as skipper. They played home games at Shea Stadium.2000 Atlanta Braves season
The 2000 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 35th season in Atlanta along with the 125th season in the National League and 130th overall. The Braves won their ninth consecutive division title, however, the 2000 season would mark the first time since 1990 that the Braves did not appear in the National League Championship Series. One of the highlights of the season was that the All-Star Game was held at Turner Field in Atlanta.Bob Klapisch
Roberto Salvador "Bob" Klapisch is a sportswriter for The New York Times. He has previously written for The New York Post, ESPN, Fox Sports and New York Daily News, and has written five books about baseball. He has been a voting member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America since 1983.Klapisch was born in New York City and grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, where he attended Leonia High School. He was awarded a bachelor's degree, majoring in political science, from Columbia University, where he played varsity baseball and was sports editor of the university newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator.In response to his book on the 1992 Mets, The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse of the New York Mets (ISBN 0-8032-7822-5), New York Mets outfielder Bobby Bonilla confronted Klapisch in the team's clubhouse, threatening him, and having to be restrained. Klapisch is half-Brazilian and speaks Portuguese fluently.Hispanic Heritage Foundation
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that works to increase the number of Latina and Latino leaders in society. As of 2010, the Chairman was Pedro José Greer.
The foundation hosts several long-term programs, including:
The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, created in 1998, which honor Latina/o high school students (organized into regions or "markets") who demonstrate leadership potential and support them as they move through college and into graduate school and/or the workplace, especially in the STEM fields and in the "Green Industry". As of 2013, the award categories include (in alphabetical order) Business/Entrepreneurship, Education, Engineering/Mathematics, Healthcare/Science and Innovation/Technology.
a Youth Speakers Bureau, an outreach program in which the Youth Award recipients visit schools and other community centers and use social networking tools to provide information and inspiration to young Latinos/as.
the Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT) Workforce Program, created in collaboration with the Hispanic College Fund to prepare Latina/o professionals for the workplace. The LOFT program also works with Human Resource departments and corporate diversity programs to place new workers. LOFT also houses the LOFT Innovation branch, the technology and computer programming program, with an office located in Los Angeles, CA.
the Hispanic Heritage Awards, founded in 1987 as part of the first Hispanic Heritage Month and hosted by over thirty-five national Hispanic organizations, which honor the contributions of Latinas/os in the fields of (alphabetically) arts, education, leadership, literature, math/science, and sports, as well as Vision and Lifetime Achievement Awards. In recent years, the awards ceremony has been televised on both NBC, Telemundo, and Mundo Fox.Selected winners in each category include:
Arts: Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, Gloria Estefan, Tito Puente, Jimmy Smits, Andy Garcia, Martin Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Plácido Domingo, Anthony Quinn, Ricky Martin, John Leguizamo
Business: Monika Mantilla
Education: Virgilio Elizondo, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jane Delgado, Henry Cisneros, Jaime Escalante, Isolina Ferré, Alberto Carvahlo, Carmen Delgado Votaw
Leadership: Pedro José Greer, Patrick Flores, Hector P. Garcia, Federico Peña, Bill Richardson, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Dolores Huerta, Antonia Novello
Literature: Julia Alvarez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Luis Valdez, Isabel Allende, Nicholasa Mohr, Gary Soto, Oscar Hijuelos, Denise Chavez
Math and Science: Richard A. Tapia, Jaime Escalante
Sports: Mary Joe Fernandez, Sammy Sosa, Nancy Lopez, Derek Parra, Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez, Bobby Bonilla, Rebecca Lobo, Andrés Cantor, Tab Ramos, Omar Minaya, Anthony Muñoz, Oscar de la Hoya
Vision: Narciso Rodriguez, Soledad O'Brien, Rosario Dawson, James A. Johnson
Inspira Award: America Ferrera
Legend: Don Francisco
Lifetime Achievement: Raul Julia, Oscar de la Renta, Celia Cruz, Carmen Zapata, José FelicianoList of Pittsburgh Pirates home run leaders
List of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise home run leaders with 40 or more home runs.(Correct as of March 20, 2019)Silver Slugger Award
The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball. These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.The prize is presented to outfielders irrespective of their specific position. This means that it is possible for three left fielders, or any other combination of outfielders, to win the award in the same year, rather than one left fielder, one center fielder, and one right fielder. In addition, only National League pitchers receive a Silver Slugger Award; lineups in the American League include a designated hitter in place of the pitcher in the batting order, so the designated hitter receives the award instead.Home run record-holder Barry Bonds won twelve Silver Slugger Awards in his career as an outfielder, the most of any player. He also won the award in five consecutive seasons twice in his career: from 1990 to 1994, and again from 2000 to 2004. Retired former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza and former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are tied for second, with ten wins each. Rodriguez' awards are split between two positions; he won seven Silver Sluggers as a shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, and three with the Yankees as a third baseman. Wade Boggs leads third basemen with eight Silver Slugger Awards; Barry Larkin leads shortstops with nine. Other leaders include Ryne Sandberg (seven wins as a second baseman) and Mike Hampton (five wins as a pitcher). Todd Helton and Albert Pujols are tied for the most wins among first baseman with four, although Pujols has won two awards at other positions. David Ortiz has won seven awards at designated hitter position, the most at that position.