In 1992, after some very productive years with the Pirates (where he was part of one of the greatest outfield tandems in baseball history along with Barry Bonds and Andy van Slyke), the Mets signed Bobby Bonilla to a five year, 29 million dollar contract.
But without the great support of the of his former Pirate teammates, his productivity at the plate declined, angering Met fans.
His time in New York was also riddled erratic behavior. During a game, he called the press box to refute an error he was charged with. He had also threatened sports-writers after they made deroggatory comments about him.
In 1996, after four seasons of less than stellar productivity, the Mets traded Bonilla to the Orioles... where he helped them get to the ALCS. In 1997, he left Baltimore as a free agent and went to the Marlins... where he helped them win a World Series.
In 1999, the Mets decided to reacquire Bonilla. Again, his productivity was lackluster. He butted heads with manager Bobby Valentine and it was rumored that he wore earplugs during his at-bats so he wouldn't hear the Met fans booing him.
The last straw for the Mets and their fans was during game six of the NLCS. While the Mets were being eliminated in a hard fought 11 inning game against the Braves, Bonilla was in the Mets clubhouse playing cards with Rickey Henderson.
The Mets put him on unconditional waivers in 2000 and he spent this season playing for the Braves.
Met fans rejoiced... but it was Bonilla who had the last laugh!
In what's probably the worst settlement in baseball history, the Mets agreed to pay out the remainder of Bonilla's contract by deferring the $5.9 million that he was due. But to avoid having to hand him the cash at the time, the Mets got Bonilla to agree to take the money later, collecting interest on it at 8 percent until the Mets had to begin paying it back. Therefore, the Mets will pay him 25 equal payments of about 1.2 million dollars every year from 2011 until 2035.