The New York Mets, with a flair for the dramatic and an unprecedented expenditure of cash, signed free agent Bobby Bonilla to a lucrative contract that made him (then) the highest-paid player in team sports. The deal had a guaranteed package for five years and worth $29 million ($48.2 million today). The contract had $27.5 million in base salary, as well as $1.5 million in a promotional arrangement.
Bonilla helped lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to consecutive National League East titles in 1990 and 1991. But without his fellow Pirate stars around him, his offensive production dropped. His stay in New York was also marred by a number of incidents, 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.” On another occasion, he called the press box during a game to complain about an error that he was charged with. In 1992 Bonilla hit .249 as the Mets went 72 and 90. Bonilla hit 34 home runs in 1993 and the Mets went 59 and 103.