I never covered him full time, but always recognized Bobby Valentine held a special place with Mets’ fans.
Maybe it had nothing to do with the fake moustache, but perhaps that act is what endeared him to the Shea partisans. It was spontaneous, funny and above all, human. We all know ejected managers hide in the runway or somehow send messages to the dugout. Valentine was just brash in his approach.
Valentine guided the Mets to the playoffs and World Series in 2000, but his teams ran out of steam and his feud with then general manager Steve Phillips became draining.
On this date in 1971, Valentine registered his 1,000th career victory when Glendon Rusch and Armando Benitez combined to throw a one-hit shutout of the Red Sox, 2-0.
Valentine managed Texas and the Mets, as well as two stints in Japan. He currently works for ESPN, but is constantly being mentioned when managerial openings occur.