Happy Bobby Holik Day Rangers Fans

Today is July 1st, and Bobby Bonilla is trending on social media. That’s because when the New York Mets washed their hands of Bonilla the player, they also cemented his contract as one of the worst in sports history. Bonilla, who retired in 2001 gets an annual $1.19M check from the NY Mets today and will do so until 2035.

Bobby Bonilla Day for Mets Fans

In 1991, the Bronx native became the highest paid baseball player when he signed a 5 year, $29M deal. Yes, it looks like pittance now but no one in baseball made more than Bobby back then.

The outfielder’s time with the Mets was a mess. Before coming to NY, Bonilla was tearing it up for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The man had been named an All-Star for four straight years and was in the top three for MVP voting. It’s hard to blame the Mets for giving a man who just hit .302 in 1991 and had 220 RBI’s over his last two seasons that contract.

Sadly his career with the Mets produced pedestrian like numbers. In his 515 games in NY, he batted .270 and only produced 295 RBI’s. His agent however, deserves an MVP for negotiating the deal and buyout deference that netted him $1M a year until he’s 72 years-old. Nice retirement fund.

The 10th annual Bobby Bonilla Day is upon us, during which the 57-year-old former outfielder — who retired from baseball in 2001 — will collect a check for $1,193,248.20 from the team he disappointed during two separate stints. The Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 million when they released him after the 1999 season, and agreed to defer the payments through 2035 — at 8 percent interest — largely because the Wilpons had been told their account with Madoff would produce annual profits of at least 10 percent.


Happy Bobby Holik Day Rangers Fans

Bobby Holik yelling about something (Getty Images)

The Mets aren’t alone in the sports world for bad deals. Hell, they aren’t even alone in NY. That’s because on July 1st, 2002 the New York Rangers handed out the worst deal in NHL history as far as I am concerned.

Glen Sather was brought in to fix the Blueshirts after Neil Smith went on a mercenary UFA spending binge that brought in high priced players with little results in the late 90’s. It didn’t take long for Slats to indulge in the deep pockets of the Garden to do some wild spending himself.

Enter 31 year-old ling time NJ Devils center, Bobby Holik. After a year of failed negotiations with Devils GM, Lou Lamoriello, Holik jumped at Sather’s offer of $45M over 5 years. That is $9M per year for a player who never scored more than 65 points in a season.

The hockey world was appalled. No one could justify what the Rangers just did. The move was using their money to simply take away a player from a rival. Remember, this is 2001 folks, you wonder why they put in a salary cap? In contrast the Rangers just signed Artemi Panarin for $11M in a season – IN 2019!

”I wouldn’t say this was a precedent-setting deal,” Sather said. ”We all see players in a different light. But Bobby’s got all the intangibles we need. It makes it a lot more difficult to check Eric now that we have him.”

Glen Sather on Holik signing

So just how bad was that deal? The Rangers bought out Holik’s contract after just two seasons. He finished his brief Rangers career with just 91 points in 146 games. New York missed the playoffs both seasons he was here.

Like I said Mets Fans…you’re not alone.

Happy Bobby Holik Day!

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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