Feb 17, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers assistant hitting coach John Valentin (52) poses for a picture during the Dodgers photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
With the offseason officially underway, we here at BSI will be starting a new segment called “Way back weekly,” taking trips down memory lane to highlight specific players or teams and what they’re doing today, as well as highlight critical moments in franchise history. Here is the premiere of “Way back weekly.”
With the current Boston Red Sox in dire need of a third baseman for next season, why not take a look back at a fan favorite who split time between shortstop, second base and the hot corner for much of the 1990s?
John Valentin was never considered much of an imposing force at the dish and at 6 feet and 170 pounds, he was rarely one of the bigger players on the team. With a career high of 27 home runs and 102 runs batted in in 1995, Valentin put together a solid career. His most significant accolade with the Sox was his Silver Slugger award from the same season, though he was never named an All-Star and was never really the star of any Beantown team.
Let’s run through some facts and stats from Valentin’s Major League career and take a look at where he is now (hint: he’s joined forces with old arch nemesis Don Mattingly.)
- Coming out of Seton Hall University, Valentin was drafted by the Sox in the fifth round of the 1988 amateur draft.
- Valentin made his major league debut on July 27, 1992 in a Sox 7-5 win over the Rangers. The infielder went 1-for-4 with an RBI single.
- Turned the extremely rare unassisted triple play on July 8, 1994 against the Mariners.
- He posted his best offensive season of his career in 1995, hitting 27 home runs, driving in 102 runs, scoring 108 runs, and finishing with an impressive .298 batting average. Valentin finished ninth in that year’s MVP voting.
- Led the league in doubles in 1997, finishing the year with 47.
- Helped the Sox advance to the 1999 ALCS by hitting .318 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in during the epic five game ALDS versus the Indians.
- Signed as a free agent with the Mets on Jan. 30, 2002.
- Valentin played in his final Major League game on Sept. 29, 2002 with the Mets.
- In 2008, six years after his retirement, Valentin joined the Dodgers Minor League affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernadino, as their hitting coach. During the season, Valentin was promoted to manager of the squad.
- Following the 2008 campaign, the New York native was named the manager of the AA affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts. He was demoted to hitting coach for the 2010 season.
- He joined the coaching staff of the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes for the 2011 season.
- In November 2012, Valentin was named the assistant hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a post he still holds today. The 47-year-old could be frequently seen by manager Don Mattingly’s side during the Dodgers loss in the 2014 ALDS against the Cardinals. Valentin is joined on the coaching staff by former All-Star and slugger Mark McGwire, who is the team’s hitting coach.