Most of the time, the order of these cards are 100% chance. I pull out the card from the shoebox. I see who it is and I begin typing 800 to 1,000 words like a damn maniac.
This one, I admit, I held off on. It is corny but how could I not post about Ellis Valentine on Valentine’s day?
I will tell you how. I could have pulled Bobby Valentine’s card!
Lest we forget, for about three seasons, Ellis Valentine was a superstar. He had power. He had speed. He hit for a solid average and OPS and had a damn cannon for an arm.
Drafted by the Expos from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Valentine shot up through the system and found himself on a team with future Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and eventually Tim Raines and managed by Hall of Famer Dick Williams. He shone right away and became a fan favorite. Matched with Warren Cromartie and Andre Dawson, they created one of the best outfields in the game.
He used the All Star Game as a showcase for his throwing arm and was a big part of the 1979 squad that nearly put the Expos into the playoffs. He even appeared in an episode of Fantasy Island.
But a shattered cheek bone from a pitch in 1980 slowed him down. He had a fine season in limited time that year but he got off to a poor start in 1981.
He missed the post season party in Montreal that year as he was traded to the dreadful Mets. It was a horrible fit for him. His numbers dipped again and in 1982, he clashed with manager George Bamberger. When he called the Mets “The worst organization in baseball”, you could imagine that it did not go over well with the front office.
He made cameos with the Angels and Rangers before injuries and off field issues ended his career in 1985.
In his retirement, he has been a drug counselor, helping young people avoid some of the pitfalls he hit in life. Always welcomed back in Montreal, Valentine has supported the return of baseball to Quebec all the while being involved with the Rangers organization.
I had the great pleasure of having Mr. Valentine on my podcast as a guest. He was funny, forthright, did not hold back and was very generous with his time and his memories.
He was one of my favorite players as a kid. He remains so today.
Enjoy his appearances on the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast on this Valentine’s Day.