The Suffering Podcast

Episode 113: The Suffering of a Pro Baseball Player with John Valentin

February 12, 2023 John Valentin Season 3 Episode 113
Episode 113: The Suffering of a Pro Baseball Player with John Valentin
The Suffering Podcast
More Info
The Suffering Podcast
Episode 113: The Suffering of a Pro Baseball Player with John Valentin
Feb 12, 2023 Season 3 Episode 113
John Valentin

It’s always a great day when a Jersey boy makes it to the big leagues. John Valentin has had an amazing career. Rising through the ranks with his talent for baseball and making it to the pros playing for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and as a Hidden coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After retirement John has Taken his wealth of Experience and passing it on to the next generation so they don’t have to suffer as most pro athletes. 


Find John Valentin 

Northeast Financial Network
LinkedIn 

Find The Suffering Podcast
The Suffering Podcast Instagram
Kevin Donaldson Instagram
Mike Failace Instagram
Buzzsprout
Apple Podcast
Google Podcast
Spotify
Amazon Music
Listen Notes
Facebook
TikTok
YouTube
The Suffering Podcast Family
Dented Development Project
Toyota of Hackensack
The Grande Saloon
FrontLine Cigars
Cafeina
Bella Dama Cigars
Hackensack Brewing Company - Peace, Love, Beer
3 Acres Resort Style Living


Support the Show.

The Suffering Podcast Instagram Kevin Donaldson Instagram
TikTok YouTube



Show Notes Transcript

It’s always a great day when a Jersey boy makes it to the big leagues. John Valentin has had an amazing career. Rising through the ranks with his talent for baseball and making it to the pros playing for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and as a Hidden coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After retirement John has Taken his wealth of Experience and passing it on to the next generation so they don’t have to suffer as most pro athletes. 


Find John Valentin 

Northeast Financial Network
LinkedIn 

Find The Suffering Podcast
The Suffering Podcast Instagram
Kevin Donaldson Instagram
Mike Failace Instagram
Buzzsprout
Apple Podcast
Google Podcast
Spotify
Amazon Music
Listen Notes
Facebook
TikTok
YouTube
The Suffering Podcast Family
Dented Development Project
Toyota of Hackensack
The Grande Saloon
FrontLine Cigars
Cafeina
Bella Dama Cigars
Hackensack Brewing Company - Peace, Love, Beer
3 Acres Resort Style Living


Support the Show.

The Suffering Podcast Instagram Kevin Donaldson Instagram
TikTok YouTube



Kevin Donaldson:

This is gonna hurt. It's time for the suffering, podcast. All of our effort and energy goes into making it to the top. We work so hard and give 150% of ourselves to achieve our goals, getting tunnel vision, and not seeing the potential pressures and dangers around us. We make it to the top of the mountain and believe that we're good. For a while. While we were climbing, there was a hunger inside of us that can never be duplicated. What is discovered is is that the surface area to stand on the top of the mountain is much smaller than on the climb up. One step to the right or to the left, and we fall unless we find a new goal, a new mountain to climb. The human species instinctually thrives on the pursuit rather than the achievement. I'm Kevin Donaldson here with Mike Felice. And on this episode of the suffering podcast. We welcome our new friend John Valentyn to talk about the suffering of a pro baseball player. Now John's made it to the top of the mountain and he's here to talk to us about the terrain John so much thank you so much for joining

Mike Failace:

excelled at the top of the mountain. So not Yeah, we

Kevin Donaldson:

got some stats for you a career. Thanks for coming. Thank

John Valentin:

you. Thank you for having me,

Kevin Donaldson:

before we start anything, so a big shout out to our marquee sponsors zoom, and that's Toyota of Hackensack. We don't trust anybody, but we do trust her out of Hackensack. So if you're looking for a car, go to Toyota hackensack.com and our brand new sponsor, that's three acres, three acres, luxury condominiums go to three acres.com to a wonderful facility in Jersey City. It's got everything you need, you never need to go anywhere. So thank you so much. Please support our sponsors. And then back to John. John. You know, you're another Hoboken guy, as far as he said that you're but you came to us from our Hoboken like pole or Hoberg

Mike Failace:

kitten tinge. That's

John Valentin:

my that's my background. Yeah. Jersey City. Hoboken. Yep. Second Street bred. Absolutely.

Mike Failace:

St. Anthony's High School. Yeah.

Kevin Donaldson:

So what's the hospital in Jersey City that you were born in? Margaret? Hey, I'm sorry that you were hatched in.

Mike Failace:

Now it was late. Margaret. Hey, gospel,

Kevin Donaldson:

Margaret, were also born there.

John Valentin:

No, actually.

Mike Failace:

I went back recently from New York. Well, actually,

John Valentin:

I went back to you know what my brother was born. I have a two year old brother that was born in Nassau Hospital in Mineola. So, I was living in Jersey City at the time, but I went back to my mom's old doctor. Yeah,

Kevin Donaldson:

very nice. Very nice. Now, John, every week, we take a question from our audience. And this week social media question comes from 101. Jane 57. I don't know where they come up with these names. But it says what is the hardest decision that you ever had to make your guests today? I'm going to pass this one off to you. I'm assuming they're in your professional life.

John Valentin:

Well, you know, that's a good question. I, I have done a lot of good things. Very happy with the way my career ended. Or and started and played. But I would have loved to have hit the ball mortar, I feel.

Mike Failace:

Yeah, 279 career average, you know,

John Valentin:

if I would have hit the ball right field, I probably would have hit 300.

Mike Failace:

You weren't playing against the shift back then either. That's true.

John Valentin:

But I lifted the ball. So that's, you know, hitting the ball off the wall and Fenway Park made it made my career.

Kevin Donaldson:

That's one of the most storied ballparks I've been to Fenway Park twice. And so my favorite I used to let I'm not a Yankees fan, but I used to like Yankee Stadium, the old stadium because there's history about now. Boston is one of the few places where the history is still there. So I love it. Absolutely. Mike, what do you think? Well, I

Mike Failace:

went to Fenway Park one time and got thrown out in the second inning. But that's besides

Kevin Donaldson:

was that the hardest decision you ever ever made to go to Fenway wasn't my decision to get thrown out? Was security. What do you think? You know,

Mike Failace:

I mean, in our career, I think my hardest decision was to retire.

Kevin Donaldson:

He's still my answer. You son of a bitch. You should have went to you first went on.

Mike Failace:

I mean, that that had to be the hardest thing. I mean, you know, like you when you retired, it had to be a hard decision to retire to separate yourself from the career that you've had.

John Valentin:

Yes, but injuries played a little part of that. I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it as good as I used to do it. So yeah, it was somewhat easy. But you know, you always want you always want to play

Mike Failace:

it's gonna come to the time where injuries were you're not going to be the same player you're worse so it's like I guess it's time to go Yeah,

John Valentin:

yeah, absolutely. It tells you your body tells you your mind tells you know your heart is different story see with him and

Kevin Donaldson:

I my answer is the same as

Mike Failace:

Mike's ours was mental injuries where we couldn't really because we were

Kevin Donaldson:

we were both involved in critical incidents and we were forced to retire where one day we went to work and the next day we weren't it wasn't our see I think I think a lot of it has to do with your choices. Like if you chose if you if you left on your terms on with a with a horse we didn't let still be playing Yeah, exactly. That We didn't adventure five.

Mike Failace:

I think I think now you could go to right field because your bats not that fast. Right? Right Vega

Kevin Donaldson:

they pitched me away all the time. You could you could still be playing I think Jamie Moyer played till he was 49. I was reading the list, there was one guy who played that he was like 66. But as in the early 99, I believe Omar

John Valentin:

Vizquel. It played until he was 5052. Ozzie Smith was up there too, was it? I don't think it was. But Omar was terrific, great player.

Kevin Donaldson:

So John, you know, you've You're You're a legend in New Jersey, you know, it's always it's always nice to see a Jersey boy moving on up and making making into the big leagues because we hold these people in this state. I know New Jersey is such a weird area. Don't when you agree.

John Valentin:

I wouldn't say that. I think being from New Jersey is pretty cool.

Kevin Donaldson:

It is. But when one of our own makes it up to the top it's like we gather around them. They become our own we protect them. And this

John Valentin:

is the east coast. Right? So you got Jersey got Boston, you got Philadelphia, you're gonna get it straight.

Kevin Donaldson:

That's good. That's a good answer.

Mike Failace:

I had a conversation with someone the other day, it's considered true jersey. Because when you're from Jersey, you're true. You're a true person. Wherever you go in the country. People get to know you're from New Jersey, because your true you tell it

John Valentin:

like it is pretty much good or bad. Yeah, exactly. What

Mike Failace:

do you want to hear it or not?

John Valentin:

Yeah, you're gonna you try to be polite. Obviously, you want to be polite all the time and try to get your point across but it comes out and you're still from Jersey?

Mike Failace:

Jersey City poll, or I'll even incompetent Hudson County polite, isn't polite. Well,

John Valentin:

it's a city in Jersey City. So you're gonna get a little bit of the good, the bad and the indifferent. Yeah. So,

Mike Failace:

but they're gonna get your attitude and your perspective on it. That's true. That's why you always got jersey.

John Valentin:

You know, what's so great about being from New Jersey is New York, right? New York is their jerseys there. You're always competing with each other. In a sense, you always want to, you know, New Yorkers don't like New Jersey, New Jersey, New York.

Mike Failace:

We're like, we're like the redheaded stepchild of New York.

John Valentin:

But it's kind of cool to be from New Jersey. Like I said, Wherever you

Mike Failace:

go, you can take someone out of their area, but you can't take their area out of you. Most fliers is

John Valentin:

always in your heart. Yeah. There's no doubt about it.

Kevin Donaldson:

Well, they so that New Jersey is one of those ways of speaking, where no matter when you open your mouth, they're like, oh, yeah, you're from either New York or New Jersey. That's true. And, but I do appreciate you coming here. I want you to tell our audience a little bit about yourself where you grew up. You know, where do you where do you first start

John Valentin:

with I grew up in downtown Jersey City. I went to St. Michael's high grammar school, and also to the high school.

Mike Failace:

But what is Marion section? No, no high

John Valentin:

downtown near near St. Michael St. Anthony's, which is like Hamilton Park area. Downtown by Hoboken.

Mike Failace:

Is everything about Jersey City has a section. You were there from the height. You're from Marion, your foreign country village,

John Valentin:

right? Yeah. So that I walked to school St. Michael's and then when St. Michael's

Mike Failace:

Close to close down. I

John Valentin:

went to St. Anthony's, which was like two blocks away. I played for Hurley in basketball. Oh, yeah. We hurl. Yeah, absolutely. You got a Hurley senior senior and, you know, Junior used to play with us when he was in seventh and eighth grade. But yes. Played for the basketball team played for the baseball team.

Kevin Donaldson:

Did you play in the seagull classic. In South Jersey.

John Valentin:

I don't as Bobby Hurley did.

Kevin Donaldson:

I don't recall. So Seagull classic was was I went to Holy Spirit High School in South Jersey and fck. And so they had the seagull class where they brought basketball teams from all across the country. And I know Jersey City. I know Bobby Hurley played there. And you know, there was a big thing because he was he was looking up his career was looking real big. And he came down. They had to shut it down because there was a couple shootings out front. But yeah, but I was wondering about that. If you played on the basketball team.

John Valentin:

I did play for two years. Yeah, play with David rivers.

Mike Failace:

Went on to Notre Dame Notre Dame

John Valentin:

and went to the NBA. Dan went to Europe to play. Yes. Very good player.

Kevin Donaldson:

So where'd you go? Where'd you go to your play your high school ball? Are you played at St. Anthony's? But do you play baseball there as well

John Valentin:

played baseball and basketball at St. Anthony's. Yes, it wasn't you know, the baseball program was pretty decent. I wouldn't say it was the greatest program. In the sense. The best

Mike Failace:

wasn't as good as Seton Hall prep. Well just wanted to

John Valentin:

see Hudson Catholic and St. Peter's prep were probably the best teams in our

Mike Failace:

division in Hudson County and Hudson casita whole prep was probably the best in the state

John Valentin:

all this no question. Yeah. So you know I prep has a great reputation of having so he got there. Yeah, having a good program. It's run by you know, Michael Shepard Jr. University

Mike Failace:

graduate is their head coach.

John Valentin:

And very good player. Great guy.

Kevin Donaldson:

So when when did they first realize or you first realized that you have a vocation you you have a talent for baseball like there's there's the guys who play and then there's guys who play because I remember the first time I saw one of the most natural baseball players I ever saw and he actually ended up going to Georgia Tech kid by the name of Kevin home and I just I watched him play and it was like it was an extension. It was like you and I, not you because it was like Mike and I breathing. That's how he played ball. When did you first realize that

John Valentin:

pretty much was not to be overly confident. But I had a pretty good little league experience. I played on the all star team, I played shortstop, I pitched I had a pretty good arm. I felt that I was somewhat better than most kids in the sense. You know, you make the all star team but I was very small and skinny. And I was very small and skinny when I was in high school for St. Anthony's and for the basketball team as well.

Mike Failace:

You know, I did see like your rookie card, but I was looking up and you're awfully skinny. Yeah,

John Valentin:

I was really skinny when a kid is skinny. You know, you somewhat, you know, you have a chip on your shoulder all the time being from Jersey City, you have to be a fighter in the sense. That's my background. When you play for a I had very, very good coaches. I had my Colgan was a good coach, my high school. The father was a good coach.

Mike Failace:

And he Ford that Ford ba Yeah, he's synonymous with baseball in he used to have the FaaS corner in the jersey journal all time,

John Valentin:

I used to field the baseball the wrong way. And he actually showed me how to field the right way. And from that point on, I was basically feeling pretty well and I got better and better. So when I was a senior and my Cogan, you know, was was a great coach, he took me to different camps. I went to North Carolina camp. I got recognized by coaches for like from James Madison University who liked me you had something extra? Yes. Well, you know, he always took the good kids, you know, and try to put them in a good position to be seen. So I went to different camps. And by doing that I learned from college players. I also went to the scene Hall camp. And I learned from them as well. So when I was a senior, my brother who's two years older than I am, went to Seton Hall wanted to go to Seton Hall had a good criminal justice program. He became an investigator in Newark for the prosecutor's office. Very nice. He became captain, but I didn't get any scholarships.

Kevin Donaldson:

I guarantee your brother worked underneath Tommy Adams. Possibly gassy. He was deputy chief there. He's Yeah,

John Valentin:

I don't. I don't know the names because I was small. I wasn't recruited highly. And Seton Hall actually came to see me play at St. Anthony's. And they actually said that I was too small in the sense that I was too skinny too small that I put that I couldn't play in Division One that chip on your shoulder just got bigger. Well, you know, when you're competing, you want to prove everybody wrong, right. So my brother was going to Seton Hall, I had an opportunity to play for St. Peter's prep on Kennedy Boulevard. Now, I didn't want to play for St. Peters at the time. They weren't a good program at the time. And I felt like I wanted to challenge myself and I said to myself, you know, I'm gonna follow my brother's footsteps. I'm gonna go get a good education. I always went to St. Michael's and St. Anthony's. They were, you know, they were Catholic schools. Seton Hall's a Catholic school, not that I'm like, super religious, but I grew up a Catholic. Okay. And then I said, You know what, I'm going to try out for the team and they're going to see me every day, and they're going to see whether and I'm going to try to prove to them that I can play the game or I can't

Kevin Donaldson:

or you get a good education. Oh, I

John Valentin:

get an education.

Mike Failace:

You are the walk on.

John Valentin:

I walked on. Yes. After. You know, there were 50 kids trying out they kept eight. Wow. Yeah, so I was one of the eight. At the old John Sheppard. You know, your friend John Sheppard. Seton Hall prep comes back from North Carolina as a sophomore. And you know, he was a shortstop at Seton Hall prep, and his father was a head coach at Sandals. Fowler was the head coach. And after playing on the B team for about a week or two, our senior captain was a shortstop, he was the shortstop, his name was Joe Armeni. He came up with a sore elbow in the sense, he couldn't play shortstop anymore for like, a two week period that he needed to rest. Okay, so the coaches said, why don't you come play with us? Because I was more defensive player than I was an offensive player. And then John, played second. I played short. The rest is history. In a sense, I played very, very well. Joe Armeni became the designated hitter, the DH. And I was, you know, playing shortstop Batting ninth, I was Batting ninth. And you know, there's a book out there that says, you know, it's the short the three Hitman and the guy who bat at night, and I'm the guy.

Mike Failace:

So Oh, Auntie Carol field. Yes. So that's the

Kevin Donaldson:

that's the Larry bow. And I always, this is why I always admired Larry. But again, being a Philly fan. I'm going to bring up a Philly guy. I always admired Larry bow, because he had given many interviews where his coaches and people throughout his life said, kid, you're too small, you're not going to play. But he said, To hell with them. So I remember we're so we're talking. I want to let everybody in the audience notice. We're talking a little bit and he's like, wow, you know what suffering and there it is right there. That's the adversity you just overcame? Yeah, we're not meant to play on on that baseball.

Mike Failace:

You walked onto a D one baseball team. Yes. And one

John Valentin:

being recruited? Yes. And what was great about that, in the sense that every player on that team was fantastic. I mean, Marty's Robinson, artiste Robins a fantastic first baseman that should have been it had a 10 year career in the MLB.

Mike Failace:

He batted 409 I think his senior year. Yeah. Or something like that. It was freezing

John Valentin:

was fantastic. And move on. Came the very next year.

Kevin Donaldson:

Move on. Well, that's a name I have not heard. You had Craig Vizio.

Mike Failace:

He played baseball up a whole famer.

John Valentin:

Yes. You know, we had great, great teammates. You know, Mike, I'm sure you guys Shepard Sr. was a fantastic coach. And so was the assistant coach was Ed Meyer. Ed blank. Meyer was fantastic. And he basically, you know, went on to coach St. John's, you know,

Kevin Donaldson:

did you grow in college? I mean, you said you were a small, skinny kid, did you grow a little bit,

John Valentin:

I didn't grow until Wow, in the minor leagues. And well, let's just say from my senior year to my freshman year, I grew three or four inches, gained about 10 pounds. But more than anything, I was a really pretty good defensive player. And that basically kept me on the field to be able to get drafted. Because I remember my freshman year when, you know, we would play games, and it'd be a ton of scouts behind the fence, watching our games, playing St. John's or whoever rockers. And the Red Sox Scout basically touches me on my shoulder and says, you know, kit, you can play in the big leagues. And that blew me out that that's really a way

Kevin Donaldson:

as a as an 18. Or I'm sorry, you're probably 2122 year old kid being told that you can play No,

John Valentin:

I was, you know, you're talking about an 18 year old? Oh, really? Yeah. Because you're a junior, you know, you're 21 You know, so he tells me that I can play defensively in the big leagues, I needed to get stronger. And I needed to, you know, hit the weights and eat good. And you know, the light bulb? Sure. turns on, right. You know, you feel like you get you know, for all the years that you played, you know, literally Babe Ruth for be whatever, in summer league. You know, you always want that recognition from a person who is, you know, somewhat has value highly, highly esteemed. Yeah, in the baseball. So when he tells me that, you know, I can play. I mean, I knew I can play, but at what level? Can I play it? And then when he, you know, basically tells me that I can play I'm like, Okay, I know I can play with Thank you. Now I gotta get stronger. Now. I gotta get, you know, on the weights, I have to eat better, and basically, prove to everybody that I can play

Kevin Donaldson:

as a child, all of us included. You know, you watch pro baseball, you're a baseball player, football player, whatever sport you're you like to play. Always. You always dream of going to the pros. One day everybody does. Yeah, but that.

John Valentin:

I mean, I'm sure every little league says you know, I watch TV. I want to be an MLB player. Right? But you know, you're not really reality that

Kevin Donaldson:

reality hits your home when like one out of you know, 100,000 kids,

John Valentin:

I'm sure I'm sure I said it myself.

Kevin Donaldson:

Of course we all we all did. But then you'll have

Mike Failace:

that time in your backyard where you're playing like wiffle ball and you're sitting there saying it's a World Series Yeah. to bottom on the ninth. Now you you walked on and settled Did they want to give me a scholarship before

John Valentin:

my sophomore year ago? Yeah. Because I played well, they Mike Shepherd senior, you know, gave me God rest his soul, you know, great addresses soul gave me a scholarship and not a full scholarship because they did not give me any full scholarships, you know, you get 11 I believe in college and they split them to, you know, with all the guys in a sense, they give everybody some money,

Kevin Donaldson:

but now your dream becomes somewhat of a reality. And there's still a lot of hard work and there's so many steps to go. But it's actually now, hey, I can do this, I might be or this, this might be a reality, as a young kid, that's got to build, it's got to first of all, it's got to do wonders for your confidence. But it's also got to do wonders for your work ethic, because you're not working for you're not just working to work anymore. You're actually working towards something.

John Valentin:

You know, being a small kid, a skinny kid, you're always trying to prove yourself, right? You want to be that try to be the best player on the team. As far as whatever skill you have, if you're a good hitter, you want to be the best hitter. If you're a good field, or you want to be the best field or I was that guy. I was I wanted to be the best fielder.

Mike Failace:

And I think that's what it takes. And you were a Hudson County kid.

John Valentin:

Yeah. Well, you know, I was a product of the five

Mike Failace:

you're brought up the FDA. The FDA is Eddie Ford. Eddie Ford was like, the guru of baseball in Jersey City. Right? Yes. He used to use that I was saying before he had an article in New Jersey journal, I believe it was it was called the father corner. And he's right about all the different Jersey City kids and everything in the fall was fantastic.

Kevin Donaldson:

The pool of talent from that area area, the pool of talent is pretty broad. Well,

John Valentin:

and in Jersey, you have a lot of talent that plays multiple sports, you know, so the father had, you know, he was associated with the White Sox at the time as a scout as a scout for White Sox. So, you know, getting, you know, good feedback from him was fantastic. I mean, you know, you're getting feedback from guys that you look up to and say, Okay, what I need, what do I need to do to get better, and I was one of those kids that, you know, I listened, I listened, I was focused, I wasn't out playing around hanging out on the corner with friends that were doing bad stuff. I was not one of those guys.

Kevin Donaldson:

Now you enter into the minor leagues from and from my understanding from people who have been through that whole journey. That's a whole different thing. And then

Mike Failace:

you're drafted by the Red Sox,

John Valentin:

right, got drafted. Fifth Round, fifth round with the Red Sox. I was the first infielder taken. So he took four pitchers, and then they took me the person that drafted me was the guy who touched on the shoulder touch me on my shoulder. Pretty interesting. So when he's when you remember his name, his name is Matt says any great scout for the Red Sox? When he signed one when I got drafted, and I knew that it might be him that was basically telling the Red Sox you need to take this tough little skinny kid in a sense, and, you know, he can play defense in the big leagues. I'm sure if he gets stronger, he will turn out to be something. And that's exactly what happened in the sense I got stronger every year.

Mike Failace:

But But getting back to that, where were you and what was like when you heard you got drafted?

John Valentin:

Actually, I was very, very nervous and did not want to be home. So baseball

Mike Failace:

draft is different from the NFL Draft like the NFL Draft it's it's aired live baseball's just like

John Valentin:

you got they do it now though. Yeah, they do it now with the MLB Network. But that, that that dead day, I wanted to just go to the mall and relax. And if I, you know, if someone called the house, they would call me. And that's basically what happened. You need to come home. You got drafted, and we're not going to tell you who but you saw a basic at home and found out it was the Red Sox.

Kevin Donaldson:

And now you enter into the minor league world. You get separated, you're making probably nothing. And you're just on

John Valentin:

the minor leagues don't make anything right now either.

Mike Failace:

So and you're on buses from here to there, you're

Kevin Donaldson:

playing you're playing Barnstorm baseball.

John Valentin:

Yeah, but it's great. It really is. You're living out a dream now. Okay, so now you're getting paid to do your dream. Yeah. So it's no longer a fun thing. Well, it's still fun. I mean, it's great. You're with guys trying to make the big leagues on the same bus in the same situation. You're rooming with guys still, you know, just like college in the sense but now you're the hashtag is you're a pro. Okay, so now you're like, Okay, now I'm playing with all the guys in the country that are now supposed to be good. Now it's my time to see if I match up the will so The day that was the chore, in a sense

Kevin Donaldson:

throughout your minor league career, how long were you in the minors? Three and a half years? Three and a half years? Did that doubt ever creep into your head? Because doubt is a dream killer? No, never.

Mike Failace:

I was gonna say sorry. Awesome. Three and a half years in the minors is a long year you here some guys that dwindle in the minors for years, but

John Valentin:

I wasn't the kind of guy in a sense that was always focused on the big leagues. I was focused on being the best player on my team,

Mike Failace:

best player in the moment in the moment. Absolutely.

Kevin Donaldson:

Yes, that's, that's an interesting concept be the best player on your team rather than you know. So you have to climb this mountain before you can climb the

John Valentin:

short goals shouldn't sense basically, you know, single to double it, and then to actually to actually, you know, get your athlete and say, Oh, I'm going to be in the big leagues in two years. You know, that's not a reality. You have to prove it every, every day. And that's basically was my, my mantra, in a sense, you know, I really wanted to say, I'm going to come to the park every day, I'm going to play well. I'm going to try to compete with everybody in the country who just got drafted,

Mike Failace:

is every leg strike gabbeh kick in the ass? And then every hit is like, okay, now I can do no,

John Valentin:

because it's a learning experience, you know, because every time you go up to the plate, there are things that you do well, and you're gonna do them. Well, for instance, I hit the ball in very well. So when a pitcher challenged me because I was skinny, and, you know, small, I got challenged a lot. You know, batting knife, right, this kid can hit, throw me a fastball, I get hits, okay, so I get hits. Then they say, Okay, you can't throw this kid in anymore. You got to throw him away. Then you get hits away, you can't get hits away. They start throwing you breaking balls, can you hit breaking balls, can you hit changeup sliders, things of that nature. And that's how they figure you out. Basically, that's how it goes in the minor leagues. So I did pretty well my my first year as an a baller went to short season, Elmira, New York played the summer because you get drafted in June play that the rest of the summer. did okay. First experience. The very next year, I played a full season a ball. I played half a season in Florida State league. I hit 275 Somewhere around there. I hit five homers, I know all my stats like they're here. Okay. So, you know, then I went to the Carolina League and played for another eight ball team, which was considered another high a team, I hit nine home runs. So I hit the fastball really, really well, for a little kid, a little skinny kid. And they like that play defense, put them in the nine hole. And all of a sudden, you know, you get a fastball, you

Mike Failace:

get to get some hits, you get power from the nine hole, that's a score.

John Valentin:

That's a score, right? What was the different difference maker for me? What made me different from a lot of other players. Whenever they threw me off speed pitches, pitches, I did not swing. Because most pitchers don't throw strikes with off speed pitching, they throw curveballs on in the dirt, sliders that breakaway change ups down. And if you are have a good eye, in a sense that you don't swing at bad pitches, you always put yourself in a position to hit fastball. That's what I did very, very well.

Kevin Donaldson:

Now, how would your parents feel about this journey at this to this point?

John Valentin:

Well, you know, what, what basically, they're very proud, obviously to or to have a kid who's going to now play baseball, right to see how far I can go. But you know, they always said that if I did not finish, you know, if I did not get to the big leagues, and I needed to finish my college, you know, to get to graduate in the sense. I would go back. Okay, so they were very, very happy and very supportive of me. And I was able to climb the ladder and basically play well.

Kevin Donaldson:

And then that one day comes, John, you going up,

Mike Failace:

you get to call up. How How did that happen?

John Valentin:

Well, it's a little bit of a story because when I went up to double A, that was the most challenging level, in a sense, you get the guys who are very, very talented, they throw very hard, but they don't have, you know, a whole lot of command in the sense they can't throw strikes. So I had trouble with hitting at that level. But, you know, my manager at the time was Butch Hopson. Okay, he was the third baseman of the Red Sox, the Red Sox player. Yeah, he was the manager at the time, he fell kind of in love with me in the sense that he played with a shortstop, that was Rick Burleson. Okay. And he said, I reminded him, I reminded him of me, reminding him of Rick Burleson. He said that I was a tough little kid that, you know, was a fighter in a sense of trying to compete every day, a gritty player, gritty player, yes. And he fell in love with me, even though I did not do well. He goes to AAA the very next year, because I did not do well, they sent me back to double A. But in spring training, when you go to spring training, you basically get to play at the next level to see if you can hang with the next level. So I was playing with the triple A guys. And those really were the double A guys playing at the triple A level, the triple A guys go on the 40 man roster, which goes to the big leagues, because when, you know, in spring training, they have to bring in the triple A guys to fill in for the next five innings because the big leagues only play two to three innings in the sense

Mike Failace:

and then they go home and only stay for the rest of the game. They don't

John Valentin:

even say yes. So those triple A guys, they basically see if they can hang in the big league level so that those triple A guys are always trying to prove themselves to be a big leader. I'm trying to prove myself to not go back to double A, you know, they sent me back to double A but bookshops and goes to AAA. And once there was an opportunity for me to go up there. He was in my corner. He says I want him. I want him to play shortstop for me. Guess what, I go up there. A month later, he's caught telling the Red Sox that I want John up here because he's a really good shortstop. I don't care what he hits. I want him defensively. I go up there. I start to play well, I get stronger. I for whatever reason. You know, triple A pitching is a little bit easier. Because they throw strikes a little bit more control control. Yes.

Mike Failace:

Well, I've heard that from from single a to double A is the hardest step from double A to triple A's easier from single a to W

John Valentin:

Absolutely. Double A is the place where you're going to have trouble because the talent is there young fireballs that don't know what they're doing. When you go to triple A you get guys that have been around trying to make the big leagues have been in the big leagues and came back down came back down. So they are professionals. They know how to throw strikes.

Kevin Donaldson:

And what year are we talking about? Now?

John Valentin:

This was I got drafted. Right 8889 I wasn't able 90 I was in double A 91 I was in AAA. So in 91 I did very well in AAA, but shopsin's The manager, he gets the big league job.

Kevin Donaldson:

How long is the you know what? It just takes that one person to believe in you? That's right. And that's what

John Valentin:

that's exactly what happened here. It's amazing. That guy so he jumps in bookshops. And so like, he's like, he's my my best friend. That's great. That is fantastic. So he believed in me. Okay, so he gets the big leap job. And there you go. I'm in AAA, he says, Be patient. I go up to the big leagues, because they now have to protect you after three years. They got to put you on the 40 man roster. So if you're on the 40 man roster, or you're not on the 40 man roster, that means you're the one of the 40 best players on their in their organization. So someone gets hurt, you're gonna go into the big leagues. So I go into spring training. I play great. He's the manager. He's like, I want him in the big leagues. Wow, I want him in the big leagues, but I'm hitting now. Okay, I'm hitting with more power doubles. I'm hitting some homeruns I'm walking. I didn't strike out much because more of a contact hitter. In a sense. He says I don't care what you hit. I want him for defense. But I was hitting. So in 92 I went back to two triple eight because he said Be patient. Let's see what happens. The team was doing terrible they were in last placed last place.

Mike Failace:

And I love that time of year too because I mean Yankee fan but God

John Valentin:

Yes, I know you are. Okay. So the team is in last place. And usually in September they do the September call ups. But right after the all star break he says we're not in a position to win. In 92, so he says, let's bring up John and a couple other guys. Move on went up, did very well. Okay, I came up and I hit 282 80 batting knights. They said, this is your job next year.

Kevin Donaldson:

You know, I remember I remember that scene in the rookie

John Valentin:

with Dennis Quaid and it was an amazing journey about

Kevin Donaldson:

Mike Morris and they have a very beautiful scene where he walks into the double res locker room for the first time and he sees the jersey the Devil Rays jersey with his name on it,

John Valentin:

right that's the picture right?

Kevin Donaldson:

Yeah, what was that like to go into the Red Sox locker room? Wherever you wherever you joined the team whether it was at home or away and see Valentin

John Valentin:

it's very overwhelming, to be honest with you. And not only to see Valentyn. I'm playing next to wade box.

Kevin Donaldson:

Wow, you know, hopping over third baseline.

Mike Failace:

That's what I was gonna say.

Kevin Donaldson:

No chicken sandwich. I'm sorry. Yeah,

Mike Failace:

to next a Wade Boggs. Yeah. I mean, it's

John Valentin:

he was the locker right next to me.

Mike Failace:

I was gonna say that that's got to be so I mean, I got chills just thinking about it like you being just a regular hard working baseball player. Now you're playing with people that you looked up to your whole life. I mean, that's got to be fantastic.

John Valentin:

And what's interesting, when I got the call, right, we were playing in Scranton. The Triple A team will the Philadelphia Phillies see? Okay, Scranton Wilkes Barre Red Baron. So Red Barons? That's right. So I get the call. And I'm going up in 93. No, 92 this is after the all star break. I'm going It's July 27. The All Star break is the 10th 11th and 12. July 27. I will the 26th I get the call. I'm going to face Kevin Brown. Kevin Brown, and Ace for the Texas Rangers. Okay, so I miss batting practice because my flight was delayed from from New Jersey, to Boston. Whatever. Okay. I get to the park. batting practice is over. It's like almost six o'clock. We play at seven. I'm like, I'm not playing today. He puts me in the lineup. Wow. He says, don't think about just go out and

Kevin Donaldson:

go away. You're only playing on the biggest stage in baseball. Don't worry about it.

John Valentin:

Don't think about it. Well, guess what? Kevin Brown really? Stuck it to me. I really didn't do anything against him. I hit like three ground balls and a pop up. I mean, really, really? Great. Pitcher had good St. Good slider. I didn't do anything against strike out though.

Mike Failace:

It didn't strike out. But you did get a hit in your first game. If I'm not correct. I did. Yes.

John Valentin:

Off the reliever. His name was Matthews, I believe is Terry Matthews. I'm not really sure his first name but his last name was Matthews. And we were losing at the time. So I go ahead with second and third. We're down by one. I get to two strikes. I go I got to put this in play. Right. I put it in play. I get a base hit over the shortstops head. Those two runs score. We take the lead we ended up adding one more run. Not by me but by someone else. But I had the winning run.

Mike Failace:

Did you get the ball from your credit?

John Valentin:

Got the ball? You still have it? Yes. Still have it

Kevin Donaldson:

you were playing at the time? Was Nolan Ryan still playing? He was Yeah. Do you ever bat up against him? Yes. I marvel at Nolan Ryan for playing at such a high level and an age. But you watch him throw the ball and there's very few pitchers in this day and age that throw the ball. It's like a Randy Johnson. You just throw the ball hard.

Mike Failace:

Oh, he threw the ball hard. Yeah, he threw out an opening pitch this last season. And he's still throw like 80 miles an hour.

John Valentin:

He turned the ball hard. Yes. And to be honest with you, the player said if you get a head off him, don't look at him. I ended up getting a double. Double Awesome. Well, I might second base. I had my head down. I'm not looking at you.

Kevin Donaldson:

But you're playing against a legend. Like Nolan Ryan is he at that time? He was probably in his 40s indefinitely he he's a legend. You're grunting

John Valentin:

grunting grunt Well,

Kevin Donaldson:

what who was that that he punched in the head? They got the guy charged a mantle

John Valentin:

he rather than

Mike Failace:

and he beat the hell out of Robin mentor. I

Kevin Donaldson:

show my youngest that he had him in a headlock. I say this is why you never test an older guy. This is this is why is a reason we're old. But you ever get ated here you ever get the star struck when you go up against somebody like a Nolan Ryan, somebody who you've been watching on up? Do you ever get that in the major leagues?

John Valentin:

Absolutely. Yeah, you definitely do it. I mean, there are names you play against it that you've seen on TV and you're like, oh my god, I'm playing. I'm playing against this guy. You know, we play Oakland. And I get to Bay set who's on first Mark McGwire I'm like, Oh my god. In this no at play against New York, you know in in

Kevin Donaldson:

big Mark McGwire small Mark McGwire

Mike Failace:

was big Mark McGwire back in the

John Valentin:

he was always big. He was always big, but you know, you play get hits in the Yankees in 9293 9495. It's Don Mattingly.

Kevin Donaldson:

Right? We're just weird as baseball swing ever.

John Valentin:

But he was a fantastic hitter. When that you you played? What

Mike Failace:

is it like when you're standing on first base? What's the conversation like with the first baseman you see these guys? You see guys a rookie, as a rookie, you don't say anything? shadowbrook. Exactly.

Kevin Donaldson:

You played in an era where there was a lot of scandal in baseball, and it sort of muddied the baseball waters. I don't know if you ever saw and please don't mention any names. I don't want to know who they are. But you? What did that feel like? I mean, did you? Did you hold it against those people that did that, that got involved in a performance enhancing drugs? What was that like?

John Valentin:

Well, you know, that's, that's always a tough subject to talk about, in the sense because these, these gentlemen is still trying to get into the Hall of Fame. And

Kevin Donaldson:

which I find personally, I think it's the same, I think.

John Valentin:

Yeah, I mean, it's definitely not condoned. It was not, it's obviously something that you should not do, or you should have not done it, in a sense.

Mike Failace:

steroids were banned in baseball to 2002 If I'm not mistaken. I don't know exactly. Dances, I think it was 2010.

Kevin Donaldson:

It was 92 they became a class three narcotic.

John Valentin:

I don't know for sure, to be honest with you. But you know, most guys always are trying to stay on the field, you know, so you don't condone anything that they're not supposed to be doing. But most guys want to be on the field, you know, so they're gonna take, you know, a pain pill here. Whatever they can get, whatever they can take to get them on the field, which is not right, in the sense but

Mike Failace:

when you're talking to a job that's worth millions of dollars, and if you're not on the field, someone else is going to take your job so you're going to take what you have to take to keep your job

John Valentin:

that's the mentality of the guy who is who has been hurt in a sense and is trying to come back

Mike Failace:

I call it Wally PIPP syndrome Wally PIPP. Got hurt for a while

Kevin Donaldson:

I always felt bad for Wally PIPP while we put gets hurt and you know, the rest is history with Lou Gehrig.

John Valentin:

Yeah, there are a lot of players there a lot of players before they even you know, you know that players names right, if before they even play, or before they even assumingly taken, you know, whatever they took, well, well, Hall of Famers. Anyway, you know, we're Hall of Famers. Anyway, so you got to look at it in you know, where are they Hall of Famers? Or were they not Hall of Fame. But

Mike Failace:

my problem with the Hall of Fame is I think, Hall of Fame is voted on by baseball writers. To me, baseball writers are frustrated athletes have been looking at a guy like Eddie Murray, Eddie Murray didn't get in the Hall of Fame, or our belt.

Kevin Donaldson:

Eddie Murray was one at one time the highest paid player in the in Major League Baseball, Albert

Mike Failace:

Bell still in his isn't in the Hall of Fame because you wouldn't give interviews to baseball writers. My theory on it is, the whole thing is is an exclusive club. If you want the steroid era players to get in there, why don't you let the Hall of Famers vote on who gets an all thing?

John Valentin:

Well, it's interesting, you know, they have a player's committee, right? You know, after you do not, you can't get into the Hall of Fame for 10 years, you go into a special selection by players who make that decision, I guess. The fact that, you know, the media has the say whether you go in or not, is the integrity

Kevin Donaldson:

factor. You know, that's the Pete Rose syndrome today. It's

John Valentin:

the integrity factor.

Mike Failace:

You're gonna tell me guys like, I mean, back in the day, I've heard stories that baseball players back in the 60s and 70s should take amphetamines all time. So you're gonna let them in a hall of fame. And

John Valentin:

it's a very, it's a very gray line. I mean, it's a very touchy subject, but you can do it just don't get caught. There are many guys who have done, you know, they've taken, you know, they take, you know, 10 Red Bulls to get on the field, or whatever the case may be, you know, they're always trying to get an edge in the sense. And you always try to stay and play as long as you can.

Kevin Donaldson:

Well, something was said once by somebody who I admired growing up, and no, yeah, growing up, but when you were like 25, and I was six. You know, it was it was Mike, it was it was a roundtable discussion with Mike Schmidt, Greg nettles, and Brooks Robinson. And Mike Schmidt said this and it always stuck with me and it kind of changed my perception about performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, Mike Schmidt said, if you were to give if you're coming to me, and you're gonna say if you take this, you'll be able to play better, play longer and recover faster. He goes, You Got them? Right, I take it. You know, that's what he said. And I thought about it for a second. I said, if I, if somebody were to come to me in my current job and tell me, I can make all these three, I can make you do better. Do it longer and recover faster. You think I'm not going to do it to get an edge? Of course you are?

John Valentin:

Well, it really depends. It really depends on your confidence level, per se, let's say you are doing very, very well not doing anything. Right, and you're healthy and you're not doing anything. And you're competing with everybody. And you're hitting 300. And you're an all star, and you're this and you're that, right. Yeah, like I don't need anything. Right. But there are some guys, not that they lose confidence, but they get hurt. Yeah. And when you get hurt, you want to play. Okay,

Kevin Donaldson:

I'm not saying it's right. But I think

John Valentin:

it's, it's, you shouldn't be doing it. But you want to play doesn't mean you condone it, it's not the right thing to do. You know, you're hurting your body you're doing you're taking an illegal, an illegal substance to play when everybody else is not doing it. You know, you shouldn't be doing it. You know, you should, like you said there are drugs to say, right? That can get you better, right without having to do this, you know, you know,

Mike Failace:

steroids became illegal in 92. You

Kevin Donaldson:

said right, I believe that's what it was.

Mike Failace:

Baseball didn't test for steroids until 2002. Steroids in Dominican Republic. were illegal back then. So who's to say in an offseason, the guy goes to Dominican Republic does all the steroids he wants, comes back and plays baseball, he did nothing wrong.

John Valentin:

No, I disagree. There's you know, I mean,

Mike Failace:

morally, he did it wrong well, morally against the game?

John Valentin:

Yeah, there's, there's an entirely there's an integrity factor, it's, you know, you shouldn't be doing exactly this down. It's a black and white, you shouldn't be doing it. But you know, the human element comes into it, you know, the human element comes in, and then you're like, Okay, people are always going to look for an edge, they're always going to try to come back and do it to something to where they can come back to be that same guy, which is not not something that you should be doing. You know,

Mike Failace:

you said it goes against the integrity of baseball. And I'm not saying that steroids are right. But technically, I think baseball turned a blind eye to steroids for a while,

John Valentin:

I'm sure in a sense, you know, more hardwired? Definitely, definitely have anything to do with it. You know? Because you can't you can't say that, you know, you want this to happen, because it's not the right thing. You

Kevin Donaldson:

had this really storied career. And just to pull some stuff, you have an unassisted triple play. I think it's the only unassisted triple play.

John Valentin:

No, no, no, I think now it's like this. 13 or 14. Really? Yeah. Oh, okay.

Mike Failace:

He's the only player in baseball history to have an unassisted triple play cycle, hit for the cycle, and have three homeruns in one game. Okay. That's what it was. That's what I read. The only person in baseball do not all in one game, obviously. No, throughout your career,

John Valentin:

won a game. But that's that's just being lucky.

Mike Failace:

in the right place, a triple play has been in the right place at the right time, and having baseball knowledge out of

Kevin Donaldson:

all that stuff. What is your most proud Major League moment?

John Valentin:

I would say the proudest moment is to actually not only get to the major leagues, but to stay because that's a big

Kevin Donaldson:

that's what our friend Adam Burt said that's exactly what he said. Adam played for the Philadelphia Flyers. He said getting there was one thing staying there was a no no,

Mike Failace:

when when you got called up, you never got sent back down or did not get sent

John Valentin:

back. That's great.

Kevin Donaldson:

So you it comes time in every person's life. Everything has an expiration date, where it's time to end it hang up the jersey, right? How was that? How was that decision?

John Valentin:

It's hard. It's hard, you know, especially I had some injuries, I torn my patellar tendon and in 2000, I had torn meniscus tears in my knees as well as I tore my labrum and rotator cuff and my left shoulder. So I've had some injuries that I had to deal with to come back from that took some time off in the sense and age plays a very big factor. You know, once you hit the age of 3233, a ripe old age, you definitely are not the same player as you but the

Mike Failace:

one thing I want to know what you played you played for the Red Sox for what 10 or 11 years? Yes, a little over 10 Just the hair and then you play for the Mets? Yes. How did you get separated from the Red Sox Did you

John Valentin:

they had an option. They had an option year to pay me X amount of dollars, which was a good salary and or by my salary my contract out and pay a portion of it and pay Because I was older and not the same, I wasn't running the same way that I ran when I was in my 20s, especially as a shortstop and a shortstop. But at that moment, you know, I wasn't a shortstop anymore because no more came. That's right. You, you went to par. Garcia Park came, which was at the time, you know, I felt like I didn't want to move as shortstop and I just hit 27 homers and 100 RBI that year and 95. He comes in 96. He's the number one pick, who now is putting pressure on taking over the position. He is doing fantastic and triple A, they are now trying to figure out what do we do with John? What do we do it no more. What what happened in 95. They brought him up in 95. The year that I was having a great year. They played him at third. They played him at second. And he didn't play that. Well. defensively. He was a natural shortstop. So they said John, can you play second? I said I can. But I don't want to. You know, I wanted to get traded to be honest with you that for when they first told me that I said I don't want to play here. I want to get traded. But then you know, speaking to my agent, my family. I play well at Fenway Park, I pulled the ball I hit homers, I hit doubles off the wall. I hit four I average I walk. Why do I want to leave? I said let me smarten up and play. Second base. So then Wade Boggs. It my first year, became a free agent. And he went over to the Yankees to play, right? He won a World Series with the Yankees. Okay. So we put another person at third base. His name was Tim nearing. Okay, good, shortstop, very good shortstop. He now works for the Yankees as the assistant general manager for Cashman. And since I was playing shortstop, they put him at third because he was a bigger kid. He was like closer, almost 6162 He had power. And he had hurt his back. So it slowed him down a little bit. He was a prototype third baseman. He feels the ground ball down the third base. One hand it hurts his elbow has to have Tommy John surgery. So our backup infielder was Jeff Frey. Do you know Jeff Frey?

Kevin Donaldson:

I remember the name but again, F FYRST.

John Valentin:

F. F Ah, yeah, exactly. So, he is a natural second baseman. So guess what? They put him at third. And he's throwing sidearm through first and taking mo Vaughn off the off the first base. So Moe is going crazy,

Mike Failace:

you know? Not a guy you want because that Yeah, yeah.

John Valentin:

So he's an actual second baseman. So they say, John, can you play third? Now you see the writing on the wall. Now I I say I don't want to play third. But he took me out a shortstop to play second. What's the big deal, I'll play third, because I could throw the ball over hand to first base and I didn't need to throw it outside on. Jeff went to second. He played second. I played third. They offered me five more years on my contract. And that's how I stayed with the Red Sox that long, which was a fantastic thing. You know, you always want to, you know, players today, you know, players today want to really stay with one club. That's why they want those tenure deals. They don't want to do two years and then have to move

Kevin Donaldson:

the bobby Bonilla close to like 2031 or

Mike Failace:

July 1 is Bobby Bonilla day, exact million dollars. Well, brilliant

John Valentin:

players want to stay in one place. You know, so I was able to now stay in one place with my family and basically be happy,

Mike Failace:

which which doesn't happen much that well no more.

John Valentin:

Right. So that's how I stay there. They offer me but I then get hurt. You know, at the towards the end of my career. They had an option year for 2001. So now 2002 I ended up you know, getting bought out of my contract and I end you know, have a an opportunity to play for any team. I get two contracts. One from the Mets one from the Yankees. Yes, the Mets and I chose the Mets playing the biggest I could not be a Wade Boggs or Roger Clemens or a Johnny Damon. I could not do that. John,

Mike Failace:

I liked your like your way up until this point.

John Valentin:

Forget about those pinstripes

Mike Failace:

strike guys. You got Jacoby Ellsbury did Johnny Damon Roger Clements. So yeah, the evil empire exists

Kevin Donaldson:

I agree. I agree. And I tell my kids I tell my my young ones when they were younger I say, you know, the Yankees they break into people's houses and steal Christmas. It's

Mike Failace:

going those two teams, the Mets had to be a homecoming for you anyway.

John Valentin:

It wasn't it was a great choice for me because I grew up kind of in my early early, you know, you talk about 989 10 years old. I used to go to Mac games. My family was Shay. Yeah. My family was a met. Family. The old Shea

Kevin Donaldson:

Stadium was nice. I liked I liked it, too. Yeah, it was more of a like a hometown ballpark. But you so you, after all, this storied career, it's time to hang up the jersey. We sort of left out in the woods. I mean, did you know what your direction was? Where you were going? No,

John Valentin:

no, did not know. I was a free agent Bobby. Bobby Valentine gets fat fired. You know, and now they bring in art how? And art doesn't know me. I did play well for the Mets that year. But Piazza I mean,

Kevin Donaldson:

art how used to coach to Ultros Oakland, Oakland was

John Valentin:

yes. So Robbie Alomar was playing second base 10 Have a good year. Alfonso a third didn't have a good year move on at first didn't have a good year. Piazza had a good year, but not many players played well. So Bobby took the fall in the sense, like a manager usually does. They wanted to go in a different direction. And you know, he was fired. And then they moved on to art. How

Mike Failace:

about Europen for Bucha? Hobson, the bit of coach,

John Valentin:

there's no question where it was, you know, but yeah. And then I became a free agent and try to go to different spring trainings and try to make the team but now I'm 35. And I'm not running the same. I had somewhat of a you know, I looked like I was running hurt in the sense. And they didn't want that they wanted young players to play. So I knew I knew it was over at that point.

Kevin Donaldson:

You're 35 years old, which is crazy. You 35 Well, no, it's not that great. I think I was 39 when I retired. You're 39 Did you know 3530 foot? Well, you're 35 But what what's next for you?

John Valentin:

What's next? I took four years off. I took four years off, coming home to try to catch up to be dad, in a sense to grow. Missed a lot of time. Yeah, obviously, you know, and loved it loved coming home, but then you know,

Mike Failace:

now you get a chance to go down the Jersey Shore every summer. Baseball season. Exactly.

John Valentin:

So it took advantage of those four years. But after those four years, I decided that I wanted to coach you know, when I went into the coaching realm, per se asked my you know, if it was a good decision to do that my family and ended up going there and had a great time. I coach with the Mets one season and then I coach 10 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mike Failace:

So the new books around two are in double A you're in double a triple A. You're up with in the big leagues for a little while as a hitting coach, I believe, right? That's

John Valentin:

right, three, three years and Mattingly was the manager I was in it was that we had two heading coaches and Mark McGwire was the head coach, I was the assistant.

Mike Failace:

So talk to Mattingly. Yeah, yeah, my

Kevin Donaldson:

naked $3.2 million in 1985 there was a big newspaper article i i liked Don Mattingly I really did like oh, he's a

John Valentin:

great guy. Great header. I mean, great big brother.

Mike Failace:

Brothers here. You saw our brother here tonight. You know my brother from Bill better boys baseball and Jersey City. My brother's a big Mattingly fan. If you can get an autograph. I'd appreciate it.

John Valentin:

No problem. No problem.

Kevin Donaldson:

It's good that he shaved the mustache out and look good on

John Valentin:

any baseball. So it's Donnie baseball.

Mike Failace:

Yes, your people don't like this, but I don't care if Donnie baseball did even though he was a Yankee.

John Valentin:

You know, he's pretty cool.

Kevin Donaldson:

John, you and I got a lot in common. You got a lot in common with the tape this tape. I always say like Derek you got somebody like Derek Jeter. Okay, you take away can't hate Derek Okay, I'm gonna tell you how I can hate Derek Jeter you take away Derek Jeter is good looks. His talent his fame his money. You think he's gonna look at him or the same person and

Mike Failace:

he's fantastic athleticism and he's you think he's I don't know about that. Sevens also from Kalamazoo Michigan to like that like that money

Kevin Donaldson:

makes you attractive that money makes you attract so you but you move on in life and you go in a completely different direction. You're with financial

Mike Failace:

with a financial boat. Yeah, after the coaching career. You want to talk about a 180

John Valentin:

Not really. Because when I when I left coaching, I came home for two years, three years and I started to teach because it's in my blood. So I started to teach kids in in around home I live you know home dial the home they'll area and mommy County, I was teaching at a facility, just teaching kids how to hit. I run into a CEO of a financial services company. I'm teaching his kid, he likes the way, you know, I talked to his kid, the way I explain things. He's looking to open, open, opening up a sports division, he wanted to take me out to dinner for financial planning for financial planning. Yes, he has a California friend in California that hires athletes. And he wanted to do the same because the his friend was very successful hiring athletes because they are coachable, they're resilient, they have the characteristics of, you know, being able to fail and come back and win in the sense. So he wanted to hire athletes to make them financial advisors. So he wanted me to come on board, and head, the division and be able to recruit athletes. So my job was to go to colleges, and guys that were getting drafted, they would go to play. And guys that were not getting drafted, try to recruit them to be in finance.

Kevin Donaldson:

So what's the name of the company that you're talking about here with the Northeast Financial Network, northeast, so we're, I want to put up a lower third, because, you know, they seems like they're educating, especially young kids, young kids are about to, especially the ones that are about to about to go to the pros, they're about their life is about to change. And they need some solid guidance from people who have been there and gone through it like yourself, what

Mike Failace:

you see with a lot of these athletes that come into high school, they get drafted to these multimillion dollar contracts, and they lose all their money.

John Valentin:

Well, that is that is where we come in, in the sense that we want to touch the seniors. And we also want to touch anyone we can touch to make them understand that if they go pro, as a high school player, in any sport, not just Major League, it could be NFL, it could be football, tennis, golf,

Mike Failace:

basketball, ping pong, because we actually,

Kevin Donaldson:

we actually know a professional ping pong,

John Valentin:

that's pretty cool. I'll give you my card. Absolutely. While we green, but we want to educate those college guys also, and also try to recruit them to be financial advisors, you know, we want to build a company with athletes. And that is our thing per se, as well as educating them. And, you know, he's given me this opportunity, it fell on my lap and a sense,

Kevin Donaldson:

you didn't fall in your lap, you work your whole career, to be able to give back like that,

John Valentin:

well, it's great to have something to do other than baseball, that means something you know, so it does mean a lot to me to be able to try to develop this program. And this is part of the division that he has.

Mike Failace:

So technically, I mean, you love sports, but you're still in sports. So it gives you the feeling of being a team member on

Kevin Donaldson:

the periphery on the periphery?

John Valentin:

Yes, pretty much. And, you know, obviously, the major league players, right, they have their agents, they have their financial advisors in the stands, so they're taken care of, you know, but sometimes, you know, as a pro athlete, okay, the advisor doesn't want to get fired, right? So they let them do what they want to do. You know, so they ended up buying these enormous houses and cars, you know, and so they can get in trouble very easily. You know, so we educate the you, you know, from high school to college to minor leaguers. Like, you know, I spoke to the triple A team of the Boston Red Sox last year, Worcester. I read the article. Yes. And we're just trying to educate as many people as we can to understand that, you know, you want to maintain that lifestyle. If whatever lifestyle you want to live, you want to maintain it. So

Mike Failace:

your lifestyle you're getting at 18 years old, you still want to have it on your 50

John Valentin:

you want to have some Yeah, you want to have it, you want to do the right things with it. And that's, you know, that's what we're trying to do.

Kevin Donaldson:

So, you said something that you said something earlier, it says they hired you because professional athletes are coachable, exact are coachable. You're back into the coaching realm, just in a different aspect of the sports world. And being coachable, I think is if you're coachable, it's your strong suit. Because not everybody is.

John Valentin:

It's true. It's true, because, you know, everybody thinks differently. And, you know, what, from a coaching standpoint, all right. You got to be able to be evaluated on your strengths and your weaknesses and you have to understand that you have them There are things you do very, very well. There are things that you don't do well. And when a coach who knows what they're doing, evaluate you and tells you listen, I can make you better. Like I've coached minor leaguers. I've coached big leaguers when I was in the big leagues, you know, they didn't want they were making millions of dollars and they don't want to hit the ball to the right side of the field.

Kevin Donaldson:

Well, there's one caveat to that. And I'm gonna tell you this a true story. This is there's a caveat to what you said. So I know a guy's name was net Hickey. I actually knew his son really well, but I was really young net Hickey is actually in the basketball hall of fame for being the oldest player to ever play in the NBA. But NAT Hickey was also a college baseball coach, and they were talking 30s and 40s. He coached Stan Musial and he always tried to change them meal musicals, batting stance. So as I knew this guy as a little kid, that was he would lead with that and he goes, Yeah, I was such a good coach. I tried to change Samuels back set, but he got a Christmas card from Stan Musial every year, every year.

John Valentin:

Well, you think about it, though. You have to know who you're talking to. You know, if you feel that he is a Hall of Famer right, leave them alone. Well, this

Kevin Donaldson:

was college. Obviously, it's way way before them. So John, listen, you've had this great career. I really do appreciate you coming in and talking to us as anything you want to give out as a plug

John Valentin:

my company, northeast Financial Network, we're based out of Cranford, New Jersey. If you're an athlete, or anyone who needs any financial services, we can help you.

Mike Failace:

I think you're an athlete run company.

John Valentin:

Well, division, that division.

Kevin Donaldson:

So once again, thank you for coming in. Sitting down with us going through some old stuff was really big for me. I enjoyed it a lot. Yeah, I

Mike Failace:

did, too. So thanks, John. Like I said, I reached out to you last week. We have a lot of friends in common. You know, we brought like Johnny Shep and the font. And I mean, that just brings me back to my childhood man. It's great.

John Valentin:

Yeah. I mean, I had great teammates, Johnny Shep was one of them. Marty's was great. You know, playing with Vizio and Mo Vaughn was fantastic. My

Mike Failace:

high school class, played college and we've talked about Don and Ali. I couldn't even play. I sucked. You know, Johnny, Shep. You know, I mean, we know a lot of people. That's crazy.

John Valentin:

Yeah, it was, it was a blessing in disguise in the sense to actually walk on to a division one team.

Mike Failace:

And like I said, you played build better boys baseball in Jersey City with my brother.

Kevin Donaldson:

So I usually end the show with this questions. What's your suffering taught you because we had this discussion on air, like, I'm going to tell you what the difference is, is because all those hardships that you went through, you never saw them as suffering because you can have you can look to different ways of things you can be the victim of the victor. You chose just never to see them as obstacles is more as challenges.

John Valentin:

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, Adversity is something you learn from and I never really took it as a negative. You know, I actually took it as a dare in a sense, like, Okay, I can't do well okay, let's let's jump

Mike Failace:

right through more adversity, adversity than suffering walking on Seton Hall, getting a scholarship, then getting drafted, working your way up through your minor leagues? I think that's an adversity, not suffering because you loved it. I loved it. So it's really not a real suffering. still

Kevin Donaldson:

speak about it with such joy I can see

John Valentin:

and nose dates and everything. Yeah, I mean, not only that, I mean, you have to be a little lucky, right? I mean, Butch Hopson, right, yeah. He was in my corner. You have to have somebody in your corner. God bless. God bless puts off

Mike Failace:

John is a your is your kids like Godfather or anything? No,

John Valentin:

no, but we we speak of each other very fondly. And he's a fantastic

Mike Failace:

guy. That is great. You know, because like I said, grown up a baseball fan. I hated Red Sox. But watch Hopson was and I

John Valentin:

hate the Yankees. Yeah, and I still

Kevin Donaldson:

and that's why he's here. Just so you know. John, thanks so much. And that's going to do it for this episode of the suffering podcast is suffering with pro baseball player with John fountain and let's think about all the stuff that we learned today. Jersey real is a real thing. Be the best right now rather than the best tomorrow. It takes just that one person to believe in you and God bless Butch Hopson be coachable, Uncle butchy. But most importantly, Adversity is something that we can learn from. That's going to do it for this episode. Don't forget to follow us on social media. You can always listen before you watch follow Mike at Mike underscore Felice. Follow me at real Kevin Donaldson of course follow the suffering podcast, and we're going to see on the next episode