1995 TOPPS D3 BOBBY BONILLA
One of my favorite groups is The Who. One time I read a review of “The Who Sell Out,” which described the record as a noble failure. It seems that same description could be used to sum up this Topps attempt at a 3D offering.
Recently, my collecting focus has been on acquiring the Kellogg’s 3D cards that used to be in cereal boxes back during my youth. So, it hits the nostalgia factor which plays a big part in collecting. Just as important to me is that these Kellogg’s sets are all under 100 cards. Having done sets that exceeded 800 cards in length, there’s just no desire on my part to tackle a set that big ever again.
One of the issues with the Kellogg’s cards is that the lenticular printing process combined with extremely thin card stock often led to the cards either curling and/or cracking. Topps solved this problem by issuing its D3 cards on heavy card stock. If you collected in the 1990s, you might be familiar with Fleer’s Flair line, which was produced on a thicker card stock. The D3 is similar, perhaps a hair thicker. Anyway, no curls or cracks with this offering
The Topps D3 set has just 59 cards in the base set and six inserts. It wasn’t supposed to be this small but it was met by such indifference by average collectors – despite Keith Olbermann’s glowing review in Sports Collectors Digest upon release – that Topps didn’t release a planned second series.
When it was released, I split a box with a collecting buddy and I had 58 of the 59 cards in the base set. The only one missing was Cal Ripken, one of 10 future Hall of Famers in the set. And this was the way it remained, until earlier this year when I picked up the Ripken on eBay for $1.
Bobby Bonilla is the only Met in the series, which is why he’s the focus of this COTW entry. It’s a happy coincidence that Bonilla has been in the news recently, with Steve Cohen wanting to make “Bobby Bonilla Day” a real thing, rather than the internet punching bag that it is currently.
The Mets were looking to cut salary to make other moves, so they restructured Bonilla’s deal, giving him deferred compensation. Every year on July 1, the Mets pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 – which is the amount of his $5.9 million with an interest rate of 8%. On the surface, it seems unbelievable that the Mets are paying this much every year to a guy who was rotten in his second stint with the club.
But that ignores two very important things.
First, freeing up that money allowed the Mets to trade for Mike Hampton, who was instrumental to the Mets making the World Series in 2000. And when Hampton left the Mets after just that one season, part of the compensation they received was the draft pick used to select David Wright.
The other thing that you need to consider is that this was the time when the Wilpon/Katz ownership was flush with money from the Bernie Madoff schemes. If your money is making 10% or more per year, it’s a no-brainer to defer money at 8%.
But because the simpletons of the world look for any reason to go #LOLMets – without looking at it from either a Mets POV or how other teams have even more onerous deferred payments – Bobby Bonilla Day has become a thing. Cohen recognizes the chance to turn a perceived negative into a positive by controlling the narrative. He wants Bonilla to show up in person and receive the over-sized check that you see at golf tournaments and fund raisers.
It’s uncertain if this will happen this year. Turns out Bonilla is a proud father, who travels around to watch his son play golf. So, he may have a previous commitment that precludes him from appearing in person. And there remains the chance that he’s uninterested in appearing in this dog-and-pony show. Regardless, Cohen is on record saying that if Bonilla is unable to attend this year, he wants him to clear his 2024 calendar on July 1.