Bobby Valentine (born May 13, 1950 in Stamford, Connecticut) is a former player and manager in Major League Baseball and current manager in Japan.
Valentine played from 1969 to 1979 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and Seattle Mariners.
He has managed the Texas Rangers (1985-1992) and the Mets (1996-2002), leading the Mets to the 2000 National League pennant. Valentine is also infamous for a dubious incident during a 1999 game where he was discovered to have snuck back into the team dugout after being ejected by wearing a Groucho Marx disguise.
Valentine is currently in his second stint as manager of the Japanese Pacific League Chiba Lotte Marines (2003 - ) for a 3 year $4,500,000 (US) contract. On October 17, 2005, he led the Marines to win the Pacific League pennant after thirty-one years in a close playoff with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. On October 26, 2005, the team became Japan Series champions with a victory over the Hanshin Tigers. He served as manager for the same team in 1995, when the team surprised most Japanese baseball fans by ending with second place (69-58-3), a remarkable feat for the Marines which had not won the Japanese Pacific league pennants since 1974. However, he was fired abruptly due to the personal conflict with general manager Tatsuro Hirooka, despite having a two year contract.
On October 27, 2005, Valentine issued a challenge to the World Series champions, prior to the completion of the tournament, on behalf of the Chiba Lotte Marines. Valentine called for a seven-game World Series to be played between the American and Japanese championship teams. Unlike the World Baseball Classic, a competition featuring sixteen national all-star teams, a World Series-styled tournament between the winners of both the American and Japanese championships has never been played.
Bobby also owns Bobby V's, a sports bar in Stamford, where he still keeps his residence in the U.S. when not managing in Japan. He was rumored as a replacement manager for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers, though he says he will finish his three year contract for the Chiba Lotte Marines, of which he has one year left.
Bobby's father-in-law is former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, who gave up the famous pennant-winning home run to Bobby Thomson in 1951.