One of the venerable characters in minor league baseball has decided to call it quits.
Bill Valentine, who has spent the past 33 years as Double-A Arkansas’ executive vice president, announced today that he is leaving the club. The Little Rock native spent 40 years with the Travelers, working his way up from clubhouse attendant to being named general manager in 1976.
"I’ve been in baseball for almost 60 years," the 77-year-old Valentine said. "Over the past couple ofyears, I think the daily grind has gotten to me a bit. Most nights I have been the last person to leave the ballpark, and I’m usually here seven days a week. I’ve just gotten tired."
Valentine had previously expressed his interest in retiring once Dickey-Stephens Park opened in 2007, but found his services were needed in operating such an expansive, state-of-the-art facility — particularly compared to the club’s old home, Ray Windser Field.
Valentine is a six-time winner of the Texas League executive of the year award. He’ll continue to serve the rest of his term on Minor League Baseball’s board of trustees.
"I’ve been lucky to work so closely with one of the true legends of professional sports," Travs GM Pete Laven said. "I know I can speak for hundreds of people across the country when I say that we owe Bill a debt of gratitude for our careers. He saved baseball twice in Central Arkansas, and our ballpark has his fingerprints all over it."
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