Bobby V got his call to majors from McCoy

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
3:54
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The last time Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine managed in the minor leagues was 1996.

He was at Triple-A Norfolk, the affiliate of the New York Mets. During that season, then-Mets manager Dallas Green was fired and Valentine was called up to replace him and he never returned to the minors.

Valentine was at McCoy Stadium in Rhode Island, home of the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, when he officially took over the managerial duties for the Mets.

“I’m going to use that line every time I call up a guy: ‘You know, I was once called up to the big leagues from Pawtucket.’ That’s where I got called up from. It was totally bizarre,” Valentine said Wednesday afternoon.

The Mets organization told him the day before while the Tides were playing in Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, but asked Valentine not to disclose the information and asked him to travel with the team to Pawtucket so the media would not notice anything different.

Once he arrived in Rhode Island, Valentine told his players he was leaving and turned the managerial duties over to his third-base coach Bruce Benedict. Then Valentine, and pitching coach Bob Apodaca, who was also promoted to the big leagues, drove from McCoy Stadium to Shea Stadium. It was the last time Valentine would manage in the minors.

“On the way there, I listed to the The Fan [New York sports radio] and they already knew, so they were saying, ‘This is the stupidest move that has ever happened, and the pitching coach is an idiot, too.’ It was classic. I remember that,” Valentine said.

Valentine was 46 at the time and managed seven seasons in New York.

The Tides reached the Governors’ Cup playoffs that season, and since the Mets were out of playoff contention, Valentine remained in almost constant contact with Benedict and the Triple-A affiliate. The Tides played the Columbus Clippers (New York Yankees) in the first round and lost the series. The Clippers eventually defeated the Rochester Red Wings for the championship.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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