New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine (Baseball.  Born, Stamford, CT, May 13, 1950.)  Though his relationship with the press was often tempestuous, Robert John Valentine presided over the development of the Mets into one of baseball’s most exciting teams in the late 1990s.  He became the first Mets manager ever to guide the club into the post-season in successive years by winning the wild card with a 94-68 record in 2000.  He then took the Mets to their fourth N.L. pennant.  In 1999, the team’s stirring run into the wild-card playoff game (in which the Mets beat Cincinnati, 5-0), the Division Series victory over Arizona, and the N.L. championship series against Atlanta were among the highlights of the baseball season.  By creating a tie for the wild-card berth on the last day of the season, the Mets salvaged a season that had seemed lost only three days before. But after a disastrous 75-86 season in 2002, Valentine was fired Oct. 1.  He had an overall 536-467 record as Mets field boss.  Valentine became the Mets’ 16th manager on Aug. 26, 1996, when Dallas Green was fired and he was promoted from the Triple-A club at Norfolk. Valentine had managed at Texas nearly eight seasons (1985-92) in addition to an earlier hitch at Norfolk (1994) and a one-year stint in Japan. He returned to Japan in 2004 after serving a year as an ESPN baseball analyst.  Among the most celebrated scholastic athletes in Connecticut sports, he played football (three times all-state) and baseball, as well as running track at Rippowan H.S. in Stamford. Son-in-law of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, Valentine was a major-league infielder, primarily a shortstop, who began his career in the Los Angeles organization. He played 639 major-league games from 1969-79 in a career curtailed by a severely broken leg. He played parts of two years (1977 and 1978) with the Mets. He owned three restaurants (Norwalk and Stamford, Conn., and Newport, R.I.), and, briefly, another in Queens.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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