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Robert John Valentine (born May 13 1950 in Stamford, Connecticut), nicknamed Bobby V, is a former player and manager in Major League Baseball and the current manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific League.
Valentine was widely recruited out of Rippowam High School in Stamford, Connecticut as a star in American football and baseball. He was recruited by the likes of the University of Nebraska, Duke University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Southern California. He attended USC where he became a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and Arizona State University. He was then drafted and signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969. He is considered to be among the best high school athletes in Connecticut history.
Valentine was the Pacific Coast League MVP in 1970, a team managed by future Dodger great Tommy Lasorda, and helped the Spokane Indians to the league championship over a legendary Hawaii Islanders powerhouse.
As a player, he was never a home run hitter (he only hit 12 home runs in his major league career), but he had 107 hits as a member of the Dodgers in 1972. Eventually traded to the crosstown Angels, Valentine was a victim of one of the most notable injuries during that era when he broke his leg at Anaheim Stadium in 1974 while crashing into the wall chasing a home run, and was never the same caliber player after that.
Career as a managerEdit
He has managed the Texas Rangers (1985–1992) and the New York Mets (1996–2002). Valentine's managing led to the late 1990s and early 2000s resurgence of the Mets, which culminated in 1999 with a wild card berth and a loss to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, and a National League pennant in 2000. The Mets lost the 2000 World Series to the crosstown rival New York Yankees, four games to one. Valentine is also infamous for a dubious incident during a 1999 game in which he was discovered to have sneaked back into the team dugout after being ejected, by wearing a disguise consisting of a change of clothes, sunglasses, and a "moustache" painted on with eye black. In early 2000, Valentine was at the center of what would be called "Whartongate", 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.
Valentine is currently in his second stint as manager of the Japanese Pacific League Chiba Lotte Marines (2003—) for a 3-year $4,500,000 (US) contract. On October 17, 2005, he led the Marines to win the Pacific League pennant after thirty-one years in a close playoff with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. On October 26, the team became Japan Series champions with a victory over the Hanshin Tigers, as well as the first Asia Series champions over Samsung Lions in finals. He served as manager for the same team in 1995, when the team surprised most Japanese baseball fans by finishing in second place (69-58-3), a remarkable feat for the Marines which had not won the Japanese Pacific league pennants since 1974. However, he was fired abruptly due to the personal conflict with general manager Tatsuro Hirooka, despite having a two-year contract.
On October 27, 2005, Valentine issued a dare to the World Series champion Chicago White Sox, prior to the completion of the tournament, 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.
Outside his baseball careerEdit
Outside of his coaching job, Valentine also owns Bobby V's, a decades-old sports bar with locations in Stamford, where he still keeps his residence when not managing in Japan or in Arlington, Texas. He claims to have invented the wrap sandwich. He claims that his restaurant was the first anywhere to serve a sandwich in a tortilla wrap. Valentine made this claim while his restaurant was showcased on the Food Network. Since 2003, Valentine has held an annual "Bobby Valentine Celebrity Wine & Food Experience", a charity fundraising event featuring food from lower Fairfield County, Connecticut restaurants and a selection of wines. Valentine acts as the master of ceremonies and celebrities and sports personalities appear at the event. The January 2008 event, to benefit the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund, included both live and silent auctions and cost $150 to attend, with ticket sales limited to 750.
Valentine is a member of the Delta Chi fraternity.
- ↑ The Whartongate Affair
- ↑ Advertisement "Sixth Annual Bobby Valentine Celebrity Wine & Food Experience", Weekend section, The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, page 8, December 6 2007
- Bobby Valentine's official blog: http://www.bobbysway.jp
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Baseball-reference.com – Major league career managerial statistics
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