Bobby Bonilla, the man who is currently getting paid more than any member of the worst unit in all of professional sports, celebrates the golden anniversary of his birth today. Did you know the Mets will be paying him 1,193,248 dollars and twenty cents this year and every year until he's 72 years old? No word if the Mets are planning to get Bonilla a gift, though they are contractually obligated to present him with a check for 1,193,248 dollars and twenty cents every summer from now until the year 2035. One imagines that Bobby Bo will probably throw himself a party today. He can afford to make it a fancy one, as he's still on the Mets payroll and will receive 1,193,248 dollars and twenty cents annually for the next 22 years. Bobby Bonilla. $1,193,248.20. 2035.
If, for some reason, you're curious to read a take on Bonilla's contract that goes beyond the obvious angle, Erik Malinowski of Buzzfeed Sports published this article on Thursday. It's a nice reminder that the deferred payment plan was common knowledge for over a decade before it became a LOLMets meme. If you follow Adam Rubin on Twitter and aren't blocked, feel free to point out that his material is eleven years old the next time he lobby a Bobby Bonilla joke.
- Chris Aguila is 34. In 2008, Aguila got the call to replace Moises Alou on the Mets' active roster when the oft-injured left fielder hit the disabled list for, as it turned out, the final time in his 17-year career. Aguila went 1-for-2 with a base knock in his first game. He'd appear in seven more contests, poking another single and drawing two walks before getting banished to Triple-A New Orleans for the remainder of the year.
- Miracle Met Ken Boswell is 67. The second baseman made his MLB debut with New York in 1967 and cracked the starting lineup the following year as the lefty-swinging side of the platoon manager Gil Hodges implemented at the keystone. Boswell was one of the Mets' hottest hitters in the summer of '69, reaching base in just over 45% of his plate appearances from August until the end of the regular season. His hot streak continued into October, as he connected for a pair of home runs in NLCS sweep of the Braves and went 1-for-3 in his lone World Series start. By the time the Mets returned to the Fall Classic in 1973, Boswell had been bumped to second on the depth chart behind Felix Millan, but he did produce a few more memorable postseason moments by tying the then-record for most pinch hits in a World Series by stroking three singles in three at-bats.
- Ron Hunt, the man who preceded Ken Boswell as the Mets' starting second sacker, turns 72 today. Hunt burst on to the scene in 1963, connecting for ten homers and finishing as the runner up to Pete Rose for NL Rookie of the Year despite being essentially the same player. As I wrote back in November:
Both were 22 years of age. Both played the keystone. Both had last names that were four-letter words that could be used as either a noun or a verb. As for the stats, both were worth 2.1 wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference. Both posted identical on-base percentages (.334). The two even came within one point of hitting for the same average. Hunt made up that slight difference by showing more pop.
- While Rose would go on to have the better career, Hunt proved to be the superior player in the short term. According to Baseball Reference, he was worth almost two and a half more wins than Charlie Hustle in 1964. He also became the first Met to start an All-Star Game that season, an honor that carried extra significance since the exhibition was played at Shea Stadium. A separated shoulder limited Hunt to just 57 games during the '65 campaign, but he returned to the starting lineup and the Midsummer Classic the following year. That would be his last as a Met, however. In the offseason, the team traded him to the Dodgers for fellow two-time All-Star Tommy Davis. It was on the West Coast that Hunt discovered his true talent: getting hit by pitches. He led the NL in the stat every season from 1968 to '74, peaking with an incredible 50 plunks in 1971. "Some people give their bodies to science," Hunt said at the time, "I give mine to baseball."
- Finally, lefty Don Shaw celebrates his 69th birthday. Shaw tossed 63-plus innings of relief for the Mets between 1967 and '68, striking out 55 batters and posting a 2.56 ERA. That impressed the Expos enough to take him with the 40th pick of the 1968 expansion draft. Shaw was back on the Shea Stadium mound almost exactly six months later, albeit it in Montreal blue, picking up the first ever win for the new franchise on Opening Day 1969.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 2000, guitarist Carlos Santana won a record-tying eight Grammys for his album Supernatural. Track number five on the much-lauded long player is "Smooth", the song that blares over the Citi FIeld speakers before Johan Santana's starts. Even though it means committing a heinous act (i.e. rooting to hear more Rob Thomas), here's hoping the stadium system is booming plenty of "Smooth" this summer.