Friday, February 26, 2010

1976 Topps #366 - Bobby Valentine

  • Bobby Valentine was a first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. He played in the minors in 1968 and 1969 and got a late season call up in '69. Bobby appeared in five games as a pinch runner in 1969.
  • Valentine spent the 1970 season at AAA Spokane and showed that he was ready for the majors by batting .340 with 39 doubles, 16 triples, and 14 homers. Bobby was named the 1970 PCL Player of the Year. He started the 1971 season with the Dodgers but struggled at the beginning of the season. Bobby was batting .125 on May 1 when he was sent to Spokane. He regained his stroke in Spokane and came back to the Dodgers a couple of weeks later. Valentine had a "5th infielder" role with the Dodgers in 1971. He started several games at shortstop, then had a stint at third base, then played at second base for a while. Bobby batted .249 in 107 games for the Dodgers in 1971.
  • In 1972 the Dodgers continued to use Valentine in a utility role. He played in 119 games and played every position except pitcher and catcher. Bobby batted .274 in 391 at bats. After the 1972 season Valentine was packaged in a big trade with the California Angels in which the Dodgers obtained Andy Messersmith.
  • Valentine was the starting shortstop for the Angels for the first five weeks of the 1973 season. He was moved to center field in mid-May and played well (.302 in 32 games) until he caught his spike in the fence on May 17 when going for a fly ball. He had a multiple compound leg fracture and missed the rest of the 1973 season. Bobby was never the same player after the injury.
  • Bobby came back in 1974 and batted .261 in 117 games. In 1975 he spent most of the season in AAA. He played a little with the Angels in August and early September and was batting .281 in 25 games when he was traded to the San Diego Padres on September 17. Bobby played in seven games with the Padres to finish the 1975 season. 
  • Valentine was in the minors for most of the 1976 season. He played in 15 games for the Padres and batted .367. Bobby started the 1977 season with the Padres. He was batting .179 in 44 games when he was traded to the New York Mets with Paul Siebert for Dave Kingman on June 15. Bobby finished the 1977 season with the Mets and batted .133 in 42 games.
  • Bobby was with the Mets for the entire 1978 season. He batted .269 in 69 games. Valentine was released by the Mets during spring training in 1979.
  • Valentine was signed by the Seattle Mariners at the beginning of the 1979 season. He played in 62 games and batted .276 as a utilty man. Bobby retired after the season.
  • After his playing career Bobby was a minor league fielding instructor for the San Diego Padres (1980-1981) and the New York Mets (1982). He was the Mets' third base coach in 1983 and 1984 and left to manage the Texas Rangers. Valentine managed the Rangers from 1985 to 1992 and was the AL Manager of the Year in 1986. He worked for the Cincinnati Reds in 1993 and then managed in the minors in 1994 and managed in Japan in 1995. Bobby became manager of the New York Mets in 1996 and managed the club until 2002. He was an ESPN analyst in 2003 and then returned to Japan to manage the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2004. Valentine was very successful in Japan and is still popular there. Bobby has returned to ESPN as a baseball analyst.
  • Bobby does a lot of charity work and owns two restaurants. His wife is a daughter of former pitcher Ralph Branca.

  • Liked to face: Mickey Lolich (.450 in 20 AB); Ken Holtzman (.360 in 25 AB); Ron Bryant (.429 in 14 AB)
  • Hated to face: Don Gullett (.125 in 24 AB); Jerry Reuss (.150 in 20 AB); Luke Walker (.000 in 9 AB)

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