May 12, 2021

Bobby Valentine's Coaching & Managing Career (1977-2014)

After his playing career that never reached its potential due to the injury he could never completely recover from, Valentine became a highly sought after coach.

Coach: Valentine began his coaching career as a minor league infield instructor for the San Diego Padres in 1980. They were the last team he had played for the previous year. (1980 -1981).

The next season (1982) he served as the Mets minor league instructor, as the organization gave him a chance to be back in with his old team & in the New York metro area. Valentine was thrilled to be near home when in November 1982, he was named to the Mets big league coaching staff. 

Bobby V. became the team’s third base coach in 1983 & also handled the infield and base-running instructions. As a Mets  coach he worked under three Mets managers; George Bamberger (1982) Frank Howard (1983) and Davey Johnson (1984).

Bobby quickly became a popular figure as a Mets coach and he became a fan favorite. His coaching talents & baseball knowledge as well as a natural feel for the game, was recognized throughout the league as potential future manager.

Manager: In 1985 the Texas Rangers gave him his first chance as a big league manager taking over for the fired Dave Rader. Valentine was still just 35 years old when he began his managing career.  

In his first season he went 53-76 as the Rangers finished seventh. The next season he came in second for the A.L. Manager-of-the-Year Award by leading the Rangers to an 87-75 record, an increase of 25 victories from 1985. 

For the next two seasons there were high hopes in Arlington, for the Rangers but his team fell to sixth place. The team did take another positive turn around in 1989. 

Valentine led them to a 83-79 record (.512%) and a fourth place finish. 

Analyst: It was in 1989 that he began his work as a broadcaster analyst. He worked along with Bob Costas & Tony Kubek for coverage of the ALCS between the A's & Blue Jays.

In 1990 & 1991 he led the Rangers to two straight third place finishes on a staff headed by veteran Nolan Ryan. In those two seasons Ryan threw his sixth & seventh career no hitters.

Trivia: Valentine was a team mate of Nolan Ryan from 1973-1975, witnessing four of his no hitters as a team mate. He then managed Ryan for his last two no hitters. This connects Bobby Valentine with six of Ryans seven no hitters as a team mate or manager.

Valentine remained in Arlington, Texas through the 1992 season, when the Rangers & George W. Bush fired him, replacing him with Toby Harah.

Valentine is the winningest manager in Rangers history with 581 wins under his belt.

After his stint in Texas, he worked for the Cincinnati Reds as an advance scout the first part of the year. In May of 1993 he joined his friend Davey Johnson’s staff as the third base coach for the Cincinnati Reds. 

Norfolk Tides Manager: The following season he came back at home with the Mets, as the AAA Norfolk Tides manager going 67-75 with a fourth place finish.

From there he went to Japan to manage the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1995, leading the club to second place, their best finish in twenty years. He returned to the AAA Norfolk Tides for the 1996 season taking them to another winning season (82-59).

Mets Manager: On August 26th,1996 he replaced Dallas Green as the16th manager in New York Mets history. He finished out the year 12-19 in fourth place. 

In 1997 he improved to a third place finish posting an 88-74 winning record. In 1998 he took the club one step further finishing with the same record but in second place behind the Atlanta Braves. Bobby turned the Mets around quickly and they soon became a contender in the NL East. 

Valentine's managing in the late 1990s early 2000s gave the club a resurgence, getting them to the post season two straight seasons. 

In 1999 he led the club to 97 wins going 97-66 (.595 %) and an NL wild card berth. At first the Mets tied for the wild card title, forcing a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets lost the coin toss & played the game on the road in Cincinnati.

That Day Al Leiter went out and shut out the Reds 5-0 advancing the Mets to the post season for the first time since 1988. 

Valentines Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS three games to one, topped off by Todd Pratt's dramatic walk off HR. In the NLCS they were stopped by the Atlanta Braves in six games.

Trivia: Valentine is infamous for an incident during a 1999 game where he had been thrown out of a game after arguing with an umpire. 

He was discovered wearing a disguise; a change of clothes, sunglasses, and a mustache painted on with eye black, sitting in the Mets dugout.

In 2000 the Mets won 94 games and another wild card berth. It was the first time in their history the team made the post season in consecutive seasons. 

They Mets beat the San Francisco Giants again in the NLDS in five games and then the St. Louis Cardinals in six games of the NLCS. 

The 2000 National League Champions, won the teams first Pennant in twelve years. 

Although they lost the Subway World Series, Valentine deserves huge credit for leading the Mets that far. The outfield consisted of no power hitter (the most HRs by a 2000 Met outfielder was 17). 

But his 2000 Mets were sixth in NL with 198 HRs. They were second in walks (675) & fifth in on base % (.346). Those were their best offensive stats against the league.

 On the mound, his staff was second in saves, which is why he had so much faith in Armando Benitez. The Mets were fourth in wins (94) third in team ERA (4.13) as well as being among the top three in almost all pitching categories.

He managed to get the most out of what he had to work with although his style was considered very controversial, yet successful. wins. 

As a Mets Manager in six seasons, from 1996-2002  Valentine compiled a 536-467 record with a .553 winning percentage. He is second to Davey Johnson for most wins as a Mets Manager (595 wins). His winning percentage is third best for Mets Managers.

Valentine notched his 1,000th managerial victory on July 12, 2001 in a 2-0 win vs. the Boston Red Sox becoming the 48th manager in major league history to reach the 1,000-win plateau. 

The 2001 Mets struggled through the year, but in September had new life & competed for the wild card race. They would finish 82-80, six games behind the Braves.

911: Following the 911 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001, the parking lot at Shea was turned into a rescue station. Bobby Valentine & some Mets players helped distribute Food, supplies and medical equipment.

He & the team wore caps in honor of the police, fire and emergency service departments. 

The Mets hosted the first professional sporting event in New York City after the September 11th attacks, a game between the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium.

The Mets had a gala event for New York honoring the victims, their families & the rescue workers involved. To top it off Mike Piazza cracked a two-run game winning HR in the 8th inning to lift the Mets & the city to a 3-2 victory. It remains one of the greatest Mets moments in their history.

Drama: In 2002 on his way to the ball park while listening to the radio Bobby V. learned that GM Steve Phillips had fired his coaching staff. He was shocked and appalled that it was done without his knowledge.

This was the continuation of Steve Phillips ruining the Mets team and running it into the ground. Bobby V. was fired in 2003 after Phillip’s free agent signings Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn & Jeremy Burnitz were all failures.

Celebrity in Japan: Valentine served one season as an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. Then he went back to manage in Japan where he is treated like a rock star.

There he is a known National Celebrity that has a beer & a hamburger named after him. Valentine served his second stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines (2004—2009).

In 2005 he led the Marines to their first pennant in 31 years & a Japan Series four game sweep over the Hanshin Tigers. He then led his team to the Asia Series Championship over the Samsung Lions of Korea. He asked for a series to play the winner of the MLB World Series but that never came to pass.

In 2005, he led the Marines to the Pacific League pennant & in 2006 the Japan Series championship. However, he was eventually fired in 2009 due to the personal conflict with the general manager, despite having a huge fan support.

Broadcaster: Valentine then went to work the Sunday Night Baseball telecasts as an analyst for ESPN. He worked alongside Orel Hershiser & Dan Shulman for the 2010 & 2011 seasons.

Red Sox Manager: In 2012 he was named manager of the Boston Red Sox after their 2011 collapse & the firing of manager Terry Francona. He chose to wear the #25, in honor of the late Tony Conigliaro whom he roomed with in 1976 while with the San Diego Padres.

Valentines days in Boston did not turn out too well. The club finished 69-93 the teams worst record in 47 years. The Sox suffered injuries, in house & public fighting with players as well as his coaches.

Honors: Bobby was inducted to the Italian American Hall of Fame in Chicago in 2003. He has won multiple humanitarian & good guy awards, as well as honors for charitable works including the golden key to New York City after 911.

Valentine is the Stamford Director of Public Safety. In 2013 he was named athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

He also serves on the Board of the following charitable organizations: The Mickey Lione, Jr. Fund for Scholastic Excellence, The Frisbee Foundation, The Western CT Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis, and Honorary Chairman for Swim across the Sound, and the Tully Health Center, Stamford, CT. 

Restaurant: 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 and in Arlington, Texas. While he was manager of the Mets there was a location across from Shea Stadium in the Ramada Hotel.

The place was loaded with memorabilia on the walls and tables laminated with old baseball cards. He claims to have invented the wrap sandwich. 

Trivia: Valentine, the Restaurateur, 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 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.

with Father In Law- former Brooklyn Dodger Ralph Branca
Bobby’s sports academy is located in Stamford, Connecticut and is one of the premier sports training facilities in the North East. Bobby designs all the drills that are taught for children of all ages. 

In 2013 he became Athletic Director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. In 2016 because of all his accomplishments in that role he was awarded the ECAC Administrator of the year.

Family: Valentine's father-in-law is former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, An excellent pitcher who became infamous for giving up the classic pennant-winning home run to Bobby Thomson in 1951.

Bobby & Mary have been married since the early eighties & have one son. 

Trivia: Bobby Valentine is so popular in Japan that a beer and a hamburger have been named for him there. Bobby is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

SNY: At the end of Spring Training 2013 the Mets announced Bobby V. will join the studio team at SNY. 

He continues in that part time role in to his third season.

Bobby V was a popular SNY analyst during the Mets 2015 post season run getting to their first World Series since Valentines team did it in 2000. He returned in 2016 & 2017 popping in from time to time as a studio analyst.

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