Feb 20, 2016

Long Island Born Player Who Finished His Career With the Mets: John Valentin (2002)

John William Valentin was born on February 18th, 1967 in Mineola, New York on Long Island. He then attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey, getting drafted in the 5th round of the 1988 draft by the Boston Red Sox.

He was playing at AAA Pawtucket by 1991 hitting 9 HRs batting .260 in 100 games. He came up to the majors briefly in 1992 arriving for good the next year. Valentin would spend ten years with the Red Sox, playing his first five years as the teams short stop until Nomar Garciapara arrived on the scene. Then Valentin moved over to third base.

In Boston he hit over .300 twice (1994 & 1997) with two twenty plus HR seasons, three forty plus doubles seasons & four seasons of seventy plus RBIs.

In 1995 he had his biggest year hitting 27 HRs with 37 doubles 102 RBIs a .399 on base % while batting .298. That year he came in 9th in the MVP voting.

In 1997 he led the AL in doubles (47) hitting 18 HRs with 77 RBIs batting .306. He was a fine infielder leading the league in assists at short in 1995, coming in second in put outs & first in errors (18). He was 5th in fielding in 1999 (.954%).

When he switched over to third base he was in the league's top five twice, leading the league in put outs in 1998 coming in second in assists. Valentin got to three post seasons with the Red Sox, batting .347 with 5 HRs 6 doubles & 19 RBIs.

Post Season: In 1999 he had a huge ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, hitting three HRs driving in 12 runs going 7-22 against Indian pitching.

In Game#4 at Fenway Park he hit two HRs & drove in seven runs as the Sox pounded Cleveland 23-7 tying the series up. In the final Game #5 he had two more hits driving in two more run as the Red Sox advanced on a 12-8 win.

After the 2001 season he was granted free agency at age 34. In the off season he signed a one year deal with the New York Mets finishing out his career. Valentin seemed to have big hits in amny games for the 2002 Mets although the team finished 5th with a 75-86 record.

On Opening day Velentin got a pinch hit at bat going 0-1. On April 15th the Mets were behind 6-1 to the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning. They scored three runs & had Rey Ordonez on first base when Valentin was called to pinch hit. He blasted a two run game tying HR off Mike Remlinger, the Mets went on to win it 7-6.

In another game in late April the Mets were down 5-1 to the St. Louis Cards when Valentin started a comeback rally with a two run double. The Mets went on to win that game as well.

On May 3rd he had a huge day in Houston, with three hits a HR and four RBIs in the Mets 11-3 win. In June he hit a two run HR against the Kansas City Royals in an interleague game at Shea, sparking the club to another come back. In Cincinnati on July 28th, his 7th inning double came with the Mets down 4-3, the hit put the Mets ahead, in another game they came back to win. In September he drove in two more runs in two games the Mets beat the Phillies in by one run each time.

On the year he played in 114 games with 3 HRs 15 doubles & 30 RBIs while batting .240.

Valentin finished his 11 year playing career with a .279 average 1093 hits 281 doubles 17 triples 124 HRs 463 walks 558 RBI& a .360 on base %.

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