28 Dec

not to be forgotten

You could put together a fairly impressive list of star-quality seasons by Mississippi natives in the major leagues. Fred Valentine’s 1966 campaign belongs on that list. The Clarksdale native, who died on Monday at the age of 87, batted .276 with 16 homers, 29 doubles, seven triples, 59 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for the Washington Senators that year, after which he got MVP votes. On July 29, 1966, the switch-hitting outfielder enjoyed what might have been his greatest day in The Show. He banged out seven hits, drove in four runs and scored four more in a doubleheader sweep against Boston at D.C. Stadium. Valentine, nicknamed “Squeaky,” went to high school in Memphis and was a two-sport star at Tennessee State before signing with the Baltimore Orioles in 1956. He debuted in the big leagues in 1959, with the Orioles, and spent parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished with a .247 career average, 36 homers and 47 steals in 533 games.

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