ELECTION UPDATE: Bobby Valentine loses tight race for Stamford Mayor in a contest decided by absentee votes.
His opponent's juggernaut campaign had already unseated the two-term incumbent mayor in primary
Mayor Valentine? We just call him Brother Bobby.
Alpha Upsilon brother and Significant Sig Bobby Valentine, the legendary Major League Baseball player and manager, is running for mayor of his hometown Stamford, CT.
In his May 7 announcement, brother Valentine said, “The greatest commodity I have is my time...and I want to give my time and my energy and my wherewithal back to the city that has given me so much over my lifetime.”
Almost immediately, the Alpha Upsilon brothers who know him began singing his praises.
“Those who have known him from the time he joined Sigma Chi can understand why this next chapter in his public life is so consistent with everything he is and has been,” said Constantine Sig Gene Erbstoesser. “All honor to his name.”
“Some of my fondest memories and best friends were established during my time with Sigma Chi,” Valentine told Trojan Sig News.
His roommate at the Sig house was brother Bill Buckner who was the Dodgers second round pick in 1968 and went on to a Hall of Fame career too. Imagine the conversations in that room between two brothers who went on to become giants of the sports world.
Valentine became a legend in the baseball world as a successful player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners, and as a manager for the Texas Rangers, Mets, and Boston Red Sox. He also managed the Japanese team Chiba Lotte Marine of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. He’s been a restaurant owner, ESPN announcer, public safety director of Stamford and Athletic Director at Sacred Heart University.
HOW TROJAN FOOTBALL LOST VALENTINE: $70,000
But nearly lost behind his baseball headlines are his remarkable talents, drive and determination in football.
He was recruited to USC to play football by coach John McKay to replace O.J. Simpson as running back. Valentine’s father, Shanen Valentine, told the Hartford Courant ``McKay tells Bobby that he's the first kid he's ever recruited east of the Mississippi River...And he tells him, if he comes to USC, and runs behind that line of his, he'll win the Heisman Trophy.''
Once he arrived at USC, he pledged Sigma Chi and was initiated on schedule. But, during his football recruiting trip, a meeting nearly by nearly happenstance with another baseball legend changed his life. ``Here's something you may not know,'' Valentine told the Courant. ``I was visiting USC on my football recruiting visit when I met Tommy Lasorda for the first time. He was scouting a baseball game and I was sitting next to him in the bleachers. He gave me a Dodger transistor radio as a souvenir and told me to think of the Dodgers every time I listened to it.''
Valentine was drafted by the Dodgers as the fifth overall pick in 1968. When he was offered a $70,000 signing bonus, football and USC were out of the picture and his long baseball career began. ``It was from Tommy's hotel room that I called John McKay to tell him I had signed with the Dodgers,'' Valentine said. ``McKay acted like he couldn't really believe it.''
Bobby V, as he was often called, started grabbing stardom very early on. He set records at Rippowam High School as a running back. “As a senior, he scored six touchdowns in one game – five in the first half – before coming out of the game. The TDs came on a punt, kickoff, interception, pass and run.,” according to a Courant account of Valentine’s astonishing career. As a junior, he scored 74 points in just six games.
``People ask me all the time, but it's hard for me to say if I was a better football player or baseball player,'' Valentine said. ``All I can say is that I played in about only 30 football games in my life. That's not a lot to work with.''
His playing career in baseball slowed after he broke a leg while reaching for a fly ball on the fence.
Valentine became known as someone who fought for his way of doing things - and got fired a lot for doing so.
Stamford’s current mayor, a democrat, is running for re-election. Valentine has declared as an unaffiliated candidate. Several other candidates have also declared their candidacy.
“As I continue along this journey, I’ve always been supported by the Sigma Chi organization, and welcome all of you to join me now! In Hoc. Bobby Valentine.”
Find details or donate at www.bobbyvalentine.com
Watch Bobby’s announcement here.
BOBBY AT HOME: A campaign photo from Brother Valentine's race for mayor of Stamford, CT.
THE CAMPAIGN: Bobby will face an incumbent mayor. But Bobby is running unaffiliated with a political party.
CHAMPIONS, AGAIN: Brother Bobby gets carried off the field after his team in Japan won the championship. To this day, Bobby is revered in Japan....and America.
SPORTS PHENOM: Many people don't realize that Bobby was an athletic phenomenon from high school onward. He really excelled in football and was recruited to play for Trojan coach John McKay to replace O.J. Simpson - until Tommy Lasorda, in a chance meeting on the USC campus, led to a $70,000 signing bonus to play pro baseball.