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Valentine in 2017
|Utility player / Manager|
|Born: May 13, 1950|
|September 2, 1969, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1979, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||157|
|Career highlights and awards|
Robert John Valentine (born May 13, 1950), nicknamed "Bobby V", is a former American professional baseball player and manager. He is currently the athletic director at Sacred Heart University. Valentine played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1969, 1971-72), California Angels (1973-1975), New York Mets (1977-78), and Seattle Mariners (1979) in MLB. He managed the Texas Rangers (1985-1992), the New York Mets (1996-2002), and the Boston Red Sox (2012) of MLB, as well as the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (1995, 2004-2009).
Valentine has also served as the Director of Public Safety & Health for the city of Stamford, Connecticut and an analyst for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. In February 2013, CBSSports.com hired Valentine to represent its Fantasy Sports business, including running a viral marketing campaign in which he made fun of the many times he was fired in his career and gave fans a chance to "Hire or Fire Bobby V" one more time.
Valentine was born in Stamford, Connecticut, to Joseph and Grace Valentine. He attended Rippowam High School in Stamford, Connecticut, where he was an All-State player in football, baseball and track. He is one of just a handful of three-time All-State football players in Connecticut history. He set state records for career touchdowns (53), career interceptions for TD (5) and 60-yard dash. The career interception for TD record remains, having later been tied by two other players. As a sophomore in 1965, he averaged 5.6 yards a carry, scored 21 touchdowns and led Rippowam to a 9-0 record and a state championship. He was also a champion ballroom dancer as a teenager, winning a regional competition with his partner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and took part in the opening ceremonies of the 1964 New York World's Fair. He was president of the student council.
He was recruited by the University of Nebraska, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Southern California as a star in football and baseball, but ultimately chose USC. In 1967, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Yarmouth Indians of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him fifth overall in the 1968 Major League Baseball draft and he signed with the Dodgers, receiving a $65,000 signing bonus. He attended both USC and Arizona State University while in the Dodgers organization and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. His roommate at USC was Bill Buckner who was the Dodgers second round pick in 1968.
At age 18, Valentine made his professional debut playing with the Ogden Dodgers of the Rookie Pioneer League, winning the league's MVP Award, hitting .281 with a .460 slugging percentage and leading the league with 20 stolen bases. He was one of only three players in the league to appear in every game. His roommate was Tom Paciorek and was also teammates with Bill Buckner and Steve Garvey. The manager at Ogden was Tommy Lasorda, the start of a friendship that has lasted four decades. In 1969, Valentine impressive enough in Spring Training that he was promoted to the Class AAA Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League. After the PCL season ended, he debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a September call-up in 1969 at 19 years old. Though he did not record a major league at-bat that season, he appeared in 5 games as a pinch runner, scoring three runs.
Back with the Spokane Indians for 1970, Valentine was again his league's MVP after batting .340 with fourteen home runs and leading the Pacific Coast League in eight offensive categories. Led by Valentine and manager Lasorda, Spokane won the league championship over the Hawaii Islanders. He suffered a fractured cheekbone when he was beaned in the PCL playoffs that season and also had right knee surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in January 1971.
Valentine made the Dodgers out of Spring Training in 1971 and batted .249 with one home run and 25 RBIs in 101 games. His first career MLB hit came on April 25, 1971, an RBI single off Milt Wilcox, scoring Steve Garvey in a 4-2 Dodgers win over the Reds. The following season in 1972, he managed to play in 119 games by playing many different positions--including shortstop, second base, third and all three outfield positions and his batting average improved to .274. He missed time after sustaining a broken nose. Following the season on November 28, 1972, he was packaged in a trade along with Frank Robinson, Billy Grabarkewitz, Bill Singer and Mike Strahler to the California Angels for Andy Messersmith and Ken McMullen.
Prior to the start of the 1973 season, Valentine was named Caribbean Series MVP playing shortstop for the series champions from the Dominican Republic, Tigres del Licey. The team was managed by Tommy Lasorda.
As a regular starter for the Angels, Valentine had a strong start, leading the Angels with a .302 batting average. Four days after his 23rd birthday, he suffered a multiple compound leg fracture on May 17, 1973 at Anaheim Stadium in a game against the Oakland Athletics after his spikes got caught in the outfield's chain link fence while attempting to catch a home run ball hit by Dick Green, one of only three home runs hit by Green during the season. He missed the remainder of the 1973 season and never regained his speed as the bones did not heal properly. Two days prior to the injury, Valentine was playing center field when Nolan Ryan threw his first career No-hitter. Valentine would later be Ryan's manager in Texas for his last two No-hitters (6th and 7th). In 1974, despite still recovering from his leg injury, Valentine made 414 plate appearances, the second most of his career, and batted .261 with three home runs. On April 4, 1975, the Angels loaned him to the Charleston Charlies, a AAA Pittsburgh Pirates organization where he played in 56 games before returning to the Angels organization on June 20, 1975. He was assigned to the Angels AAA affiliate Salt Lake City Bees and played in 46 games batting .306 before being called back up to the Angels On September 17, 1975, he was traded to the San Diego Padres with Rudy Meoli for Gary Ross (baseball). On September 19, 1975, in his first game as a Padre, Valentine homered off Mike Caldwell (baseball) in a 3-1 loss to the Giants.
In 1976, Valentine spent most of the season with Padres AAA affiliate, the Hawaii Islanders, playing in 120 games batting .304 with 13 home runs. On June 15, 1977, after playing 44 games with the Padres, he was part of the New York Mets infamous "Midnight Massacre", when the Mets traded Dave Kingman to San Diego for minor league pitcher Paul Siebert and Valentine, sent Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman, and Mike Phillips to the St. Louis Cardinals for Joel Youngblood.
Valentine's role with the Mets became even more limited, and he was released in spring training, 1979. He signed with the Seattle Mariners shortly afterwards, and made his debut as a catcher that season. Following the season, he retired from baseball at 29 years of age.
Valentine was serving as a member of the Mets coaching staff when he was tapped by the Texas Rangers to take over managing duties from Doug Rader 32 games into the 1985 season. He was not able to turn the team's fortunes around right away and the Rangers went 53-76 the rest of the way, finishing with an overall record of 62-99. The following season the Rangers finished second in the American League West with a record of 87-75. Valentine also finished second for AL Manager of the Year that year. Hopes were high in Arlington after the 1986 season, but his Rangers fell back into sixth place the following two seasons. Unable to replicate his early success, Valentine was fired by managing partner George W. Bush halfway through the 1992 season with a record of 45-41.Toby Harrah took over as manager, and led the Rangers to a 77-85 record and a fourth-place finish. He finished his Rangers' managerial career with a record of 581 wins and 605 losses with no post-season appearances.
In 1995, Valentine began his first stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League. That season, the team surprised most Japanese baseball fans by finishing in second place (69-58-3), a remarkable feat for the Marines who had not won the Japanese Pacific league pennant since 1974. However, he was fired abruptly due to the personal conflict with general manager Tatsuro Hirooka, despite having a two-year contract.
Valentine returned to the U.S. and the Norfolk Tides in 1996, managing them to an 82-59 record and second place in the International League's West Division. He then was promoted to manager of the Mets with 31 games left in the 1996 season, and led them to a 12-19 record the rest of the way.
Over the next two seasons, with Valentine at the helm, the Mets began a resurgence, finishing 14 games over .500 (88-74) both years. Valentine's most memorable game as a manager occurred on June 9, 1999. In the 12th inning of a 14 inning marathon with the Toronto Blue Jays, Mike Piazza was called for catcher's interference on Craig Grebeck. Valentine was ejected by home plate umpire Randy Marsh for arguing the call, and returned to the dugout an inning later in a disguise (sunglasses and a fake moustache made from Eye black). Unamused, Major League Baseball fined Valentine $5,000 and suspended him for two games. The Mets went on to win the game 4-3.
Valentine led the Mets to a record of 97-66 and a wild card playoff berth that season. The Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in four games (3-1) en route to the National League Championship Series, where they eventually lost to their division rival the Atlanta Braves in six games (4-2).
In early 2000, Valentine was at the center of what would be called "The Whartongate Affair", in which he allegedly mentioned to students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business somewhat cynical, insider comments regarding a handful of Mets players and the organization as a whole.
The Mets returned him as manager the following season, finishing the year with a 94-68 record and another wild card playoff berth. This time, the Mets would not be denied the pennant, winning the 2000 National League Championship Series by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in five games (4-1). The Mets run would end during the 2000 World Series as they were beaten by their crosstown rival New York Yankees in five games (4-1).
Valentine won the 2002 Branch Rickey Award for his donations and personal work with survivors of the September 11 attacks. Valentine had an uneasy, if not volatile relationship with general manager Steve Phillips, who fired three of Valentine's coaches and selected the replacements himself during the 1999 season (in a move many observers felt was an attempt to get Valentine to quit) and eventually fired him after the 2002 season. Valentine was hired by the network soon afterwards. He finished his Mets managerial career with a record of 536 wins and 467 losses.
In 2004, Valentine began his second stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines. On October 17, 2005, he led the Marines to their first Pacific League pennant in 31 years after emerging victorious in a close playoff with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Nine days later on October 26, the Marines won the Japan Series in a four-game sweep of the Hanshin Tigers for the first time since 1974. On October 27, 2005, Valentine issued a challenge to the World Series champion Chicago White Sox on behalf of the Chiba Lotte Marines. Valentine called for a seven-game World Series to be played between the American and Japanese championship teams. Unlike the World Baseball Classic, a competition featuring sixteen national all-star teams, a World Series-styled tournament between the winners of both the American and Japanese championships has never been played.
Following their Japan Series championship, the Marines won the inaugural Asia Series by defeating the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization in November 2005. Valentine was also involved in bringing innovative promotional efforts to Japan, which doubled Marine attendance during his tenure. Some of these gimmicks, like allowing children to run the bases after games or dedicated autograph sessions, are common in America but were unseen in Japan; others, such as Valentine hosting dance classes for female fans, played on the manager's personal appeal (and his history--Valentine was a competition ballroom dancer in his youth). In 2008, Valentine was the subject of the ESPN Films documentary The Zen of Bobby V. The film followed Valentine and his 2007 Chiba Lotte Marines team. The Zen of Bobby V. was an official selection at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. The Marines decided to let Valentine go after the 2009 season after an extensive smear campaign led by club president Ryuzo Setoyama, which ironically backfired and resulted in an overflow of support for Valentine by local fans. In the end, Valentine was fired, even though a petition to extend his contract was presented to the organization with 112,000 signatures.
Valentine accepted a position as a baseball analyst for ESPN. He had previously appeared on the cable network's Baseball Tonight show in 2003. He made his broadcasting debut for the 2009 American and National League Championship Series and World Series.
Valentine continued working with ESPN for the 2010 MLB season. He was interviewed for the Baltimore Orioles managerial position after manager Dave Trembley was fired in early June; Valentine later withdrew his name from consideration. Valentine was considered a front runner for the Florida Marlins managerial position that opened after Manager Fredi González was fired in late June. However, Valentine confirmed he was no longer a candidate for the position after the Florida Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria stated that Edwin Rodríguez, the interim manager they summoned to replace Gonzalez, would manage the team through the 2010 season. With the firing of the New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel at the end of the 2010 season, Valentine had been speculated by the local New York sports media of returning to the team. It was also reported that the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners had interviewed Valentine for their open managerial job. Valentine was interviewed by the Milwaukee Brewers for their managerial opening in October 2010. He was believed to be a finalist along with Bob Melvin, Joey Cora, and Ron Roenicke. The position eventually went to Angels bench coach Roenicke.
On December 1, 2010, Valentine, Orel Hershiser and Dan Shulman were named as ESPN's new Sunday Night Baseball crew for the 2011 MLB season. In June 2011, news outlets reported that Valentine was once again a candidate for the Florida Marlins managerial position after the ballclub free fell in the standings. That did not come to fruition, however, as the Marlins hired former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén.
On November 21, 2011, Bobby met with the Boston Red Sox for a formal interview for the open manager's position, and on November 29, it was reported that he would be the new Red Sox manager and the successor to Terry Francona. Valentine was introduced by Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington on December 2, 2011, and chose to wear number 25 in honor of the late Tony Conigliaro, with whom he briefly roomed during spring training 1976 with the San Diego Padres.
Valentine's first and only season with Boston was marred by injuries, in-fighting, clubhouse drama, public disagreements with players, media run-ins, and a tumultuous relationship with his coaches. Under Valentine's management, the 2012 Red Sox finished last in the AL East at 69-93, their worst record in 47 years. Valentine was fired by the Red Sox on October 4, 2012, just one day after the conclusion of the regular season.
|Team||From||To||Regular season record||Post-season record|
|W||L||Win %||W||L||Win %|
|New York Mets||1996||2002||536||467||.534||13||11||.542|
|Boston Red Sox||2012||2012||69||93||.426||0||0||-|
Valentine has helped to raise the visibility of Pioneer athletics over his tenure, with appearances on ESPN, SNY and other national and regional media outlets. In 24 months, he has spearheaded numerous projects to better Pioneer Athletics, the construction of a brand new Student-Athlete Enhancement Center and the addition of women's rugby to varsity status. In support of the new strength and conditioning coach, Valentine directed a $150,000 renovation of the weight room with state-of-the-art Hammer Strength equipment for use by varsity athletes and the general student population.
Under his watch, Valentine has overseen the replacement of the playing surface on Campus Field, as well as its surrounding track. The lobby of the Pitt Center boasts a brand new look, with a trophy case containing the numerous trophies the Pioneers have won over the years, and new athletic branding. The basketball court, named in Dave Bike's honor in February 2014, as well as the Pioneer tennis courts and Pitt Center lobby have been rebranded as well. The football team received a locker room renovation preceding the 2014 campaign, and this summer both the men's and women's lacrosse locker rooms are getting a facelift. Sacred Heart University is investing $21.8 million in construction of the Bobby Valentine Health and Recreation Center, a 57,400-square foot, three-story, state-of-the-art fitness facility for the whole student population. The facility will include an indoor track, a bowling center, an 18-bike spin center, a 45-foot climbing wall and exercise and weight-training rooms. The anticipated opening is August 2019.
In addition, the Pioneers have seen success in the athletic realm during Valentine's tenure. SHU won its NEC-best eighth Joan Martin Commissioner's Cup for excellence in women's athletics in 2015. The Pioneers have captured 13 conference championships since he has taken the helm. Programs have garnered national acclaim in that time, with the football team finishing the 2014 season nationally ranked, and the fencing squad finishing 11th in the NCAA at the 2014 championship. In September, 2016 Valentine was named the ECAC Division I Administrator of the Year.
Since 1980, Valentine has owned and operated Bobby V's Restaurant & Sports Bar, a sports bar that is located in his hometown of Stamford, with franchises slated to open in Norwalk, Connecticut, Arlington, Texas, and Middletown, Rhode Island.
In 2011, Mayor Michael Pavia named Valentine Director of Public Safety for the city of Stamford, Connecticut. Valentine was paid a token $10,000 salary for this position, which he pledged to donate to city charities. Valentine left the position 11 months later to manage the Red Sox.
In 2013, on the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Valentine made comments that accused the New York Yankees of not contributing support to the New York community in the wake of the attacks. He was widely criticized for the inaccuracy of his comments, as many media sources documented several occasions on which the Yankees visited victims and workers after the attacks, and for the untimeliness of trying to take credit for helping.TBS had originally planned to feature Valentine as a studio analyst during its MLB on TBS coverage for the 2013 postseason, but reportedly declined to do so after the negative publicity his comments attracted.
On December 9, 2016, WEEI reported that, on the recommendation of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Valentine was being considered by Donald Trump's presidential transition team for appointment as the United States Ambassador to Japan.