Saturday, February 23, 2013
[Celebrating a 50th birthday we actually care about.]
Bobby Bonilla, 1B/3B
Other Teams: Chicago White Sox (1986), Pittsburgh (1986-91), New York Mets (1992-95, 1999), Baltimore (1995-96), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998), Atlanta (2000), St. Louis (2001)
Marlins fans know him because: Bobby Bo was an integral part of the 1997 championship campaign. Signed in the offseason as a free agent, he was the team's everyday third basemen and provided some much needed offensive production in the middle of the order. He slashed .297/.378/.468, hitting largely in the cleanup spot. His playoff performance was nothing to write home about but he had two crucial plays in the magical deciding game of the World Series.
First, in the 7th inning with the Fish down 2-0 and the crowd mostly out of it, Bobby crushed a first pitch high change-up deep into the right field seats. The stadium exploded with life. Bonilla pointed to in the stands as he crossed home plate. Supposedly he received some advice from a former big leaguer on what to look for from Jaret Wright. It worked.
Bonilla's bottom of the 11th was an adventure. He lead off with a single, but then was lucky not to be doubled off on a failed bunt. Then Counsell hit the infamous bouncer to 2B Tony Fernandez's left. Bonilla, consciously or not, shielded the ball before it went under Fernandez's glove. He chugged his way from first to third. Bobby was forced out at home but we all know what happened next.
Everyone else knows him because: There was a time when the Pirates were very good at baseball (strange, we know). Bobby was a big star alongside Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and co. He made four consecutive All Star Games (1988-91), six in total. He basically became a journeyman, but parlayed his early success into a huge contract with New York. He's now the epitome of Mets schadenfreude because he receives over $1 million a year until 2035 from them as part of a deferred payment plan that was in his buyout.
Other people also might remember the great cameo in Rookie of the Year, seen above.