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A great Q&A with Ellis Valentine

Jul 3, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Ellis Valentine

Jeff Pearlman sat down with former Expos star/enigma Ellis Valentine.

It’s pretty great, as Valentine opened up about being a young prospect, the turf in Montreal, how he almost became a relief pitcher at the end of his career, about working for $4.50 an hour at the Phoenix airport the year after he made $450K playing major league baseball, drugs, suicide and a bunch of other stuff.

Just a neat guy who played in an era which is really only being explored in books and longer features in the past few years and about which there was so much weirdness and coolness, good and bad.

  1. fanofevilempire - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Cool story, he was able to make a good life for himself, too bad it doesn’t
    always have a happy ending.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Did you think it didn’t have a happy ending? Or do you mean generally?

  2. missthemexpos - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Now I will admit to being bias, but when I hear someone mention an outfielder having a cannon of an arm I always think of Valentine.

  3. yahmule - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:59 PM


    Man, that was a fun team.

    • nolanwiffle - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Not to mention: Carter and Raines. Great team.

      • yahmule - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        I just remember when those three guys came up together. Carter came up just a couple years earlier. Before Dawson cracked the lineup, Valentine was playing center and Carter actually manned right field for several games. That young oF had a huge impact. The Expos won 55 games in 1976. Dawson and Cromartie joined the starting lineup the next season and the Expos improved to 75 wins and two years later they won 95 games. Raines came along in 1981 and more or less ran Cro off to Japan.

    • philliesblow - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Album sleeve from the Signals album by Rush has a blue print for Warren Cromartie Secondary School.

    • weaselpuppy - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Indeed….speed, power, good hit tool, cannon arms for all 3…imagine that on grass instead of that awful turf….

  4. historiophiliac - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Now that was an interview. Great, thoughtful answers and questions that he could work with. He seems very real.

    • yahmule - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Yeah, I’m glad I took the time to read that.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Me too. And, I’d say the best part of it wasn’t really about his playing. The part about feelings was insightful.

      • yahmule - Jul 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        The part about Karl Kuehl was especially nice. Based on his reaction, I’m sure Valentine let Kuehl know the impact the older man made on his life before Kuehl passed away.

  5. stlouis1baseball - Jul 3, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Wonderful interview. The time spent reading it was well worth it.

  6. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Too bad he didn’t get interviewed by someone decent

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