New York Mets: Celebrating Bobby Valentine’s Day on February 14
By Allen Settle
Valentine’s Day is all about love. For New York Mets fans, it’s also about Bobby Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day, New York Mets fans!
Each year February 14th gives people an opportunity to celebrate. Whether it’s a celebration of the people you care about, a celebration of “singles awareness day,” or a celebration of all the chocolate that will be one sale tomorrow, Valentine’s Day is special.
For Mets fans, February 14th also gives us an excuse to remember one of the most notable managers in team history: Bobby Valentine!
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Valentine was one of the rare individuals who had an opportunity to represent the Mets as both a player (1977-1978) and as a manager (1996-2002). His professional athletic career was productive. While he was never considered to be an elite talent, Valentine was able to post a career average of .315 over 1,698 during his decade long career.
Today, he is most commonly known for his managerial work. After a major league stint with the Texas Rangers, Valentine accepted the position as skipper of the Mets. In his first two season’s he led the team to identical 88-74 records. In 1999, Valentine and the Mets clinched a Wild Card playoff berth and advanced to the NL Championship Series.
The following season, in 2000, Valentine had his best career year. He led his team all the way to the World Series. While the team would lose to the rival New York Yankees (4-1), it was one of the few championship opportunities is the franchise’s history.
That Time He Wore a Disguise
His most memorable moment came during the 1999 season. On June 9th, Valentine was ejected for arguing a questionable call during a regular season matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays. The ejection occurred in the twelfth inning of a tie game.
However, shortly after being ordered to leave the dugout, Valentine unexpectedly returned wearing a fake mustache as a disguise!
MLB responded to the gesture by fining the manager $5000 and suspending him for the following two games. However, the act has gone down in infamy as one of the most bizarre (and hilarious) acts in baseball history. For what it’s worth, the Mets went on to defeat the Blue Jays 4-3.
Since his retirement from the MLB following the 2012 season, Valentine assumed the role of athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. As a result of his accomplishments with the school, the campus is set to open a 57,400-square foot Bobby Valentine Recreation Center in August 2019.
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As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s all take a moment to remember the treasure that was Bobby V’s Mets career!