Bobby Valentine's time as a player and manager in the United States and in Japan serve as the pillars of an impressive career in professional baseball that spanned 43 years. A two sport star in football and baseball in Connecticut, Valentine committed to baseball after he enrolled at University of Southern California in 1967. Valentine spent one season at USC and was then drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1968 amateur draft. Valentine spent 10 seasons in the majors playing for the Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners, appearing at every position on the field except for the pitcher.
After the 1979 season Valentine retired as player then quickly reemerged in the majors as a coach for the New York Mets. By the time 1985 rolled around, Valentine had been tabbed as the newest manager of the Texas Rangers and embarked on a seven year run in Arlington. After a year-long stint as manager of the Mets Triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides, Valentine in 1995 became the first American to accept a managerial position in the Japanese Pacific League. After a successful season of steering the Chiba Lotte Marines, Valentine returned stateside to manage the Tides for the 1996 season. Midway through that season Valentine was promoted to manager of the Mets, a post he would hold through the 2002 season.
Under Valentine the Mets returned to the postseason in 1999 for the first time since 1988, and one season later he piloted the team to their first World Series appearance since 1986. Valentine’s career went full circle in 2005 when he returned to the Marines for a second stint as manager. Valentine piloted the Marines to the 2005 Japan Series Championship, and during his tenure in Japan he also introduced innovative promotional efforts which ultimately doubled the franchise’s attendance at home games.
Valentine spent four more seasons at the helm of the Marines before he returned to the States in ESPN’s broadcast booth as an analyst for the 2009 MLB playoffs. He remained in the booth until he was named manager of the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2012 season.
Valentine managed the Red Sox for one season before he stepped away from baseball to become Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Sacred Heart University and develop the school’s fledgling athletic program. Valentine also continues to make a philanthropic impact throughout his community – in 2002 Valentine was awarded the Branch Rickey Award for his donations and personal work for the survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City. Valentine is married to Mary Branca, the daughter of the late Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca. The two have one son together.
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