Bobby Valentine will be introduced today as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, one of Major League Baseball’s most successful franchises, nine years after he was fired by the New York Mets.
Valentine succeeds Terry Francona, who left in September after Boston blew a nine-game wild-card lead in the final month and missed the postseason for the second straight year.
The Red Sox will hold a press conference to announce 61-year-old Valentine’s appointment at 5:30 p.m. local time, the team said last night in an e-mailed release.
Valentine has worked as a major league analyst for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN since his last managerial job with Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines from 2003 to 2009. The only manager to have teams reach championship rounds in the U.S. and Japan, Valentine has 1,117 wins and 1,072 losses in 15 seasons as a major league manager, including seven years with the Mets and eight with the Texas Rangers.
Valentine led the Mets to the 2000 World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees.
Since January, Valentine also has served as director of public health and safety for his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut.
14 Winning Seasons
The Red Sox have had 14 straight winning seasons, including 10 years with 90 or more victories, and along with the St. Louis Cardinals are the only two-time World Series champions over the last 11 seasons.
“This is a great organization with a great team and a great city and ballpark,” Valentine said after his job interview with the Red Sox on Nov. 21. “I don’t think that anywhere else where there’s been a job opening and my name has been mentioned there have been as many fabulous factors.”
Boston made the postseason six times in a seven-year span from 2003 to 2009, and won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 under Francona. The Red Sox went 90-72 last season, losing the AL wild-card playoff berth to the Tampa Bay Rays after dropping 20 of their final 27 games.
Francona and the Red Sox parted ways amid questions about the club’s culture and chemistry.
Following the season, Jon Lester confirmed a report in the Boston Globe that he and fellow pitchers Josh Beckett and John Lackey drank beer in the clubhouse during games they weren’t scheduled to pitch. Boston’s starting staff had a 4-13 record and a 7.08 earned run average in September.
The Red Sox are also dealing with changes in their baseball operations department. Theo Epstein, who spent nine years as Boston’s general manager, left to become the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations. Ben Cherington was promoted from assistant general manager to replace Epstein and headed the team’s search for a new manager.
Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum had two interviews with the Red Sox before being hired by Epstein to manage the Cubs. Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar, Detroit Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont and Toronto Blue Jays first-base coach Torey Lovullo were also candidates.
Valentine was a candidate for managerial jobs in Milwaukee, Florida, Baltimore and Washington after ending his six-year run with the Marines in Japan’s Pacific League. In 2005, Valentine led the club to its first title in 31 years, and his success resulted in a street being named after him and books being written in Japanese about his management style.
Valentine was fired by the Mets in 2002 following the team’s last-place finish. He had a 536-467 record in New York.