Wednesday marked the 22-year anniversary of former Mets manager Bobby Valentine’s infamous dugout costume party.
Valentine, after being ejected for arguing a catcher’s interference call in a tense extra-inning game against the Blue Jays on June 9, 1999, returned to the Mets dugout with a different look: the skipper disguised himself by wearing a hat and sunglasses and donning a mustache made of eye-black stickers. He was quickly spotted by the broadcast crew — and suspended for two games with a $5,000 fine by the league.
Though this would become one of the most memorable moments for the veteran manager, it was not first time Valentine attempted to sneak into a game, he told The Post’s “Amazin’ But True” podcast.
In 1989, as a manager for the Texas Rangers, Valentine was suspended for a game against the Twins. At the time of the banishment, managers were allowed to be around the team for practice, but not for the game. That did not stop Valentine from trying to slink into the Minnesota stadium.
“We were playing in the Metrodome, which meant I wouldn’t have any communication with the team. So, I decided I would sit out in the left-field stands,” Valentine said. “So, I put on a disguise. A mustache, my hair was real black at the time and I put talcum powder in my hair to make it white like it is now, put a hat on and a T-shirt.”
Unfortunately for Valentine, the disguise failed before he could even take his seat. He was spotted by a fan seconds after entering the stadium.
“As I was going up the escalator, some fans were coming down the escalator on the other side,” he said. “One of them looked over at me and said ‘Hey Bobby, where are you going?’ and I said ‘Well I guess back down to the clubhouse now.’ “
Valentine, now 71-years old, led the Mets to the NLCS in 1999 and the World Series in 2000. He finished his Mets tenure at 536-467 over seven seasons before he was fired in 2002.
Despite a one-year managerial comeback in 2012 with the Red Sox, Valentine is focusing on a different leadership opportunity: In May, he announced his decision to run for mayor of Stanford, Conn.