2010 Citizen of the Year: Bobby Valentine

A native of Stamford, Bobby has had a lifelong commitment to the City of Stamford and its residents. His civic involvement has included cleaning up the Columbus Park area; serving as chair of the City’s Fire Service reorganization taskforce; and (currently) serving as the City of Stamford Director of Public Safety. He also serves on the Boards of the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund for Scholastic Excellence, The Western CT Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis, Tully Health Center, and the Richard D. Frisbee Foundation.

Although Bobby is widely known for his sports career, he has been honored by numerous organizations throughout his lifetime and has been the recipient of several awards for his humanitarian efforts during the September 11th recovery, among them the Branch Ricky Award from the MLB, and the key to the City from NYC Mayor Giuliani. Other humanitarian awards included the Joan Payson Award, the William Shea Little League Award, and the Bart Giamatti Award.

Bobby tirelessly devotes his time and energy to countless charitable organizations and/or events as a guest speaker, host, or other role to help raise many millions of dollars for health care, research, and education. The following is a partial list of some of the events he has been involved with in the past year.

  • Auctioneer for DSSD Sculpture Program
  • Celebrity Waiter at Morton’s FBO Hanna Storm Foundation
  • Keynote Speaker at Westhill High School Graduation Ceremonies
  • Presentation at Springdale Little League Game
  • Guest Speaker at Sterling House Community Center Fundraiser
  • Guest Speaker at Norwalk Chamber Annual Meeting
  • Guest Speaker at Sports Career Opportunities Seminar
  • Guest Host Haiti Benefit Dinner
  • Speaker Swim Across the Sound benefit dinner
  • Longtime supporter of MS Dinner for Champions
  • Celebrity Host for Strike3Foundation FBO Pediatric Cancer Research

Bobby has been honored by Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, National Diabetes Foundation, Tuesday’s Children, and QSAC Autism Foundation. He is a member of the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He has been the Grand Marshall at the NYC Columbus Day Parade as well as the Stamford Thanksgiving Parade and is an international dance champion for the Bill Defamato Dance School, having performed at the opening ceremonies of the U.S. Pavillion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

Bobby has been involved in major league baseball since 1968 as a player (LA Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, NY Mets, and Seattle Mariners) and manager (Texas Rangers, New York Mets, and Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines). He was the only foreign recipient of the prestigious Shoriki Award, given to those who make great contributions to Japanese Baseball. He can be seen and heard during the 2011 MLB season as part of the Sunday Night Baseball crew on ESPN.

He is the owner of Bobby V’s Sports Gallery Café in Stamford and Texas and Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy in Springdale.

Bobby has been a financial supporter, a role model, and an inspirational speaker to young people everywhere while making special efforts on behalf of the youth of his hometown. He has always remembered his home and continues to be a good neighbor, a great friend and “one of us” to the people of Stamford. Talk to people who live here and you will see that it is not hard to find someone whose family has been touched by Bobby in some memorable way.

Bobby attended the University of Southern California where he became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Bobby and Mary, his wife of 34 years, have one son, Robert J. Valentine, Jr., 27. Mary is the daughter of Ralph Branca, the former pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers.