After joining the Travelers in February, the 43-year-old Valentine, who still wears a half-inch crewcut, arranged promotions for all 60 of the team's home dates in Little Rock, with emphasis on freebies for kids. "We have to build with youth, just like a team," he says.
Working 14-hour days with his staff of two, Valentine answers all the team's mail himself, and is so busy during games that he misses most of the action. He has added diet soft drinks, light beer and Polish sausages to concession fare and has doubled attendance to 1,300 a game, despite Arkansas' 11-15 record. The Travelers, who get a subsidy from the Cardinals, should make a profit for their 1,300 public owners.
"Getting fired by Joe Cronin was the best thing that ever happened to me," says Valentine. "You can't pay umpires enough to be away from home from February to October. I'm living at home and I'm back in baseball. And thanks to Mr. Cronin, whenever I'm introduced, people say, 'Aren't you the guy who...?' I'm better known in the minors than I ever was in the majors."