04/02/2012 7:14 PM
Bobby Valentine is coming to Cape Cod.
The first-year Boston Red Sox manager has accepted an invitation from the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Yarmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and Cape Cod Baseball League to participate in Bobby Valentine Day on Thursday, May 3.
Organizers met last week to discuss plans for the event, which will include a regionally televised press conference originating from the new Cape Cod Community Media Center in South Dennis, several public appearances in Yarmouth and a ceremony in Hyannis where Valentine will present his No. 25 Red Sox jersey to the Cape League Hall of Fame & Museum. There, the autographed shirt will become the centerpiece of a new exhibit honoring the eight current MLB managers who played in the league.
Other members of the exclusive club are fellow American League East managers Buck Showalter (Baltimore Orioles), Joe Girardi (New York Yankees) and John Farrell (Toronto Blue Jays), plus Eric Wedge (Seattle Mariners), Robin Ventura (Chicago White Sox), Jim Tracy (Colorado Rockies) and Mike Matheny (St. Louis Cardinals).
In 1967, as a 17-year-old high school junior, Valentine played in the Cape League for the Yarmouth Indians. He batted .294, led the league in runs scored and impressed the Los Angeles Dodgers enough to become their first-round draft pick the following June.
He was the fifth player chosen in the 1968 draft, just behind the Yankees’ first selection, Chatham and Kent State catcher Thurman Munson, that year’s defending CCBL MVP and batting champion.
The Stamford, Conn., native advanced rapidly through the Dodgers’ system and was soon playing in the big leagues, but his promising career was cut short by injuries and he turned to coaching. He was the New York Mets’ third base coach when he left to manage the Texas Rangers in 1985, and later returned to the Mets as manager, finishing second three times and winning the 2000 National League pennant. He also served two stints in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines, which he led to the 2005 Japan Series and Asian Series championships.
Valentine was a baseball analyst for ESPN until Dec. 1, 2011, when he accepted the Red Sox’ offer to succeed Terry Francona as the 45th manager in the team’s storied history.
In 2009, Valentine returned to Cape Cod for the first time since 1967 to see his old Yarmouth manager and longtime friend Lou Lamoriello inducted into the Cape League Hall of Fame. He and Lamoriello also served as honorary captains at the 2010 Cape League All-Star Game at Fenway Park.
“Through his words and actions, Bobby has clearly demonstrated his high regard for the Cape League, now it’s our turn to show our appreciation,” said Y-D Red Sox General Manager Jim Martin, one of the event organizers. “Yarmouth has a long history with the Red Sox organization and we are very proud that a former Yarmouth player is now their manager.”