Triple-A National Champion Fresno Grizzlies announce Baseball Great Bobby Valentine as Featured Guest Speaker at the 55th Anniversary Hot Stove Gala
FRESNO, Calif. – Former Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine has been added to the lineup of the 55th Anniversary Hot Stove Gala, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 at 5 p.m. in the Fresno Convention Center’s New Exhibit Hall in Downtown Fresno.
Prior to his time in Major League Baseball, Valentine was a star athlete, not only in baseball, but football as well. He excelled in both sports at Rippowam High School in Stamford, Connecticut. Several universities became aware of his outstanding athletic abilities, and the young Valentine was recruited by Duke University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Southern California. Valentine decided to enroll at USC, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
Valentine, better known to some as “Bobby V,” began his career in Major League Baseball in 1969, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also went on to play for the California Angels, the New York Mets, and the Seattle Mariners, before finishing his playing days in 1979. In 1985 he transitioned into the role of a manager, leading such teams as the Texas Rangers, the New York Mets, the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, and finally the Boston Red Sox. Valentine’s greatest accomplishment as a Major League Manager was in the 2000 season, when he led the New York Mets to a National League Pennant and their first World Series appearance since 1986. The Mets would not appear in the World Series again until 2015.
Valentine has continued to share his baseball knowledge with others, lending his insight as an analyst for “ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.” Away from the game, Valentine has also served as the Director of Public Safety & Health for the City of Stamford, Connecticut. He is now the athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“We are both excited and honored to have the one-and-only Bobby Valentine join us for the 55th Anniversary Hot Stove Gala,” said Fresno Grizzlies General Manager Derek Franks. “Our fans are going to be in for a real treat when they experience the rich-history of Bobby Valentine.”
The baseball great will join another guest speaker, Fresno Grizzlies Manager Tony DeFrancesco, along with Grizzlies catcher Tyler Heineman and pitcher James Hoyt, for the evening’s festivities. DeFrancesco led the Grizzlies to their first- ever Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Championships in his first year with the ball club, where the franchise picked up its first division title since its inaugural 1998 season. Heineman and Hoyt both made the final play in Game 5 of the PCL Championship, thus clenching the title. All four of the men had a role in the Triple-A National Championship last year, with Valentine participating on the broadcast team for the NBC Sports Network.
The Hot Stove Gala benefits the Fresno Grizzlies Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manages community programs such as Wild About Reading, Farm Grown and Junior Grizzlies. Tickets are currently available for the dinner. In addition to guest speakers from the world of baseball, awards to local high schools and high school players will be presented. The Al Radka Award will also be announced and presented during the dinner. Tickets are $75 for adults and $35 for children (12 and under). An All-Star Table (includes 10 tickets) is available for $700 and space is limited. To purchase tickets, please RSVP by calling Grizzlies Community Fund Director Whitney Campbell at (559) 320- 2547 or by visiting www.FresnoGrizzlies.com.