He was the NY Mets manager. Now, Stamford native Bobby Valentine is mulling a run for mayor.

Valentine

Valentine

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — Former Major League Baseball manager Bobby Valentine on Thursday said he is considering running for mayor — but it doesn’t appear that the Stamford native has come to a final decision about launching a campaign just yet.

“It is an election year for some of the situations in our city, in our state — and I have given it consideration, and I’m still considering it. Let me put it that way,” Valentine said Thursday as he spoke during a virtual Senior Men’s Association of Stamford meeting. “Yeah, I’m kind of considering it. It’s a crazy thought, and anytime I say it to someone, they say, ‘Why the hell would you do that?’ And I’m working on the answer.”

Valentine, who is currently Sacred Heart University’s executive director of athletics, said when he was in Texas with his longtime friend and first professional manager, Tommy Lasorda, for Game 6 of the World Series last year, he told Lasorda he was mulling a run.

“When I mentioned to him, ‘Hey, Tommy, I’m thinking about running for mayor of Stamford, Connecticut. What do you think?’ He looked at me and said, ‘Why not?’” Valentine said. “And he knows me. He knows Stamford.”

He said Lasorda “ate many a meal” at Valentine’s mother’s house, “devoured many a pizza” at Pellicci’s Ristorante and “entertained many a person” at Valentine’s sports bar. Lasorda died in January at age 93.

Dan Miller, Valentine’s friend and an executive at Gabelli Funds, told The Stamford Advocate that if Valentine does decide to make a bid for mayor, he would run as an unaffiliated candidate.

Incumbent Mayor David Martin and state Rep. Caroline Simmons — both Democrats — are the only candidates who have filed paperwork thus far. The vice chair of Stamford’s Board of Finance, Mary Lou Rinaldi, and Christopher Malloy, nephew of Dannel Malloy, have also said they are looking to run.

Valentine has served in government before. He was the city’s director of public safety for about a year under then-Mayor Michael Pavia.

During Thursday’s meeting via Zoom, Valentine told stories about meeting presidents, traveling abroad and, of course, playing baseball and managing teams, including the Texas Rangers and the New York Mets.

Valentine said he recently finished writing an about 440-page book with author Peter Golenbock. He said working on the book about his life has reminded him “just how lucky” he is.

“I had a five-room house over on the waterside. My dad was a carpenter. My mom worked all the time,” Valentine said. “And from this little place of Stamford, Connecticut, not only did I travel the United States and meet some of the great people who have run our country … but I’ve also been lucky enough to do it overseas,” and meet world leaders.

Of all the jobs he’s had over the years, being a baseball player remains “the coolest thing I ever did,” he said.

“That’s when you’re just taking care of yourself and you’re just trying to be as good as you can be,” Valentine said. (His favorite position was shortstop.)

But he also enjoyed being a manager.

“It was really, really fun most of the time,” he said. As a manager, “you have a whole group of people who are at your beck and call basically. … (You’re) leading them into battle every day and you’re trying to create that bond among the group, where they can be together as one because it’s kind of like religion. Each season, you need to have faith. You need to believe. You need to believe that where you are is a good place and where you’re going is a better place and that the gospel that the leader is handing out to everyone is the gospel that’s going to get you to where you want to go.”

Asked what he has learned about leadership over his sports career, Valentine said good leaders inform, instruct and inspire their teams.

“When you do that … you start to establish trust in yourself. And when you have trust, you can then have teamwork,” he said.

He suggested that with more trust and leadership, the country may have been able to “get through this situation with the COVID a little sooner.”

“But understand: It’s not a magic wand,” Valentine said. “You don’t say, ‘Trust me. Follow me. Believe in me.’ You must earn the trust, and the way you earn it is with your ability to give the right information, to give the proper instruction and to make sure you’re inspiring and motivating those to do the right thing.”