Bobby Valentine will address Wilton Kiwanis Club

Bobby Valentine, former manager of the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox, will speak to Wilton Kiwanians at their regular weekly luncheon Wednesday, Nov. 9, at WEPCO, 48 New Canaan Road.

Lunch will be served at 12:15 and Valentine will begin his talk at 1 for half an hour. Non-members are invited at a cost of $15 per person, but reservations are a must and can be made by calling Bud Taylor at 203 354 0208.

A Connecticut native who grew up in Stamford, Valentine is athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.   

One of the best athletes from Connecticut of the 20th Century, as voted by Sports Illustrated, Valentine made his major league baseball debut as a Los Angeles Dodger on Sept. 2, 1969, versus the New York Mets, a club he would go on to manage.

All told, Valentine spent 10 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Dodgers, Padres, Angels, Mets and Mariners. He appeared in 639 games and hit .260 over the course of his career. Valentine played every position on the field during his career, except pitcher, showing versatility until his final appearance on Sept. 30, 1979.

After his playing career, Valentine remained in baseball as a third-base coach for the Mets. He made his major league managerial debut in 1985 with the Texas Rangers, earning UPI American League Manager of the Year honors in 1986 and went on to become the winningest manager in Rangers history. Valentine took over the Mets in 1996 and led the squad to back-to-back postseasons, including a 2000 World Series appearance. He served a season at the helm of the Boston Red Sox in 2012.  In total, Valentine has 1,186 major league managerial victories under his belt.

In 1994, Valentine became the first American to accept a management position in the Pacific League of Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines. He returned to the states after a two-year stint, but went back to lead the Marines again from 2004-09, a tenure that included a 2005 Japan Series Championship.

Valentine also has experience in the broadcast booth. He can be found on the sets of SNY, covering the New York Mets, and MLB Network. Valentine was part of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball announcing team, with Orel Hershiser and Dan Shulman. He also serves as NBC’s senior baseball analyst.

He has seen success in the business arena as well. Since 1980, he has owned and operated Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Cafe, a Stamford sports bar. There are franchises in Windsor Locks and Arlington, Texas.  

Valentine is also known for his philanthropy. He helped to found the Mickey Lione, Jr., Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to Stamford sophomores who excel off the field and exemplify the values that Lione instilled in his athletes and students.

His generosity was especially on display on Sept. 11, 2001, when he commanded an emergency staging area at Shea Stadium. He also visited a Queens firehouse that lost 19 members during the tragedy and has reached out to numerous children who lost a parent that day. He won the 2002 Branch Rickey Award for his donations and personal work with survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks and was awarded the key to the city by the mayor.