corky valentine, 1955 topps #44, redlegs

Player: Valentine, Corky

Card: 1955 Topps #44

Position: RHP

Harold Lewis “Corky” Valentine (January 4, 1929 in Troy, OH – d. January 21, 2005 in Roswell, GA) was an American professional baseball pitcher who worked in 46 career games in Major League Baseball as a member of the 1954 and 1955 Cincinnati Redlegs. Corky was one of multiple baseball players named Valentine.

Valentine entered professional baseball in 1948 in the Cincinnati farm system. After spending three years in the low minor leagues, and missing 1951 and 1952, he led the 1953 Sally League in earned run average (2.11) and helped the Columbia Reds win the league championship. The following year, he made the parent Redlegs’ regular-season roster.

Making a turn in Cincinnati’s starting rotation, he appeared in 36 games as a rookie, with 28 starts. His 12 victories put him in a three-way tie (with Joe Nuxhall and Art Fowler) for most on the Redleg staff, and he paced all Cincinnati pitchers with three shutouts; he also threw seven complete games, second-most on the club. However, plagued by arm miseries, Valentine was demoted to the Redlegs’ Triple-A Havana Sugar Kings affiliate after May 29, 1955.

He never returned to the major leagues. In May 1956, Cincinnati traded him to the Milwaukee Braves, who assigned Valentine to their Double-A club, the Atlanta Crackers where he led the club to two Southern Association championships. He spent the rest of his career in the Braves’ system, retiring in 1959 after ten pro seasons. Remaining in Atlanta, he entered law enforcement and community policing as member of the Atlanta Police Department, then the Fulton County Police Department, where he was commended for apprehending three armed robbery suspects. He retired from the force in 1992, and died in Roswell, Georgia, of congestive heart failure at age 76 on January 21, 2005.

In his 46 big-league games (including 33 starts), he posted a 14–12 won–lost record and a 4.81 career earned run average. In addition to his seven complete games and three shutouts, he was credited with one save among his 13 relief appearances. Valentine allowed 240 hits and 76 bases on balls, with 87 strikeouts, in 221 MLB innings pitched. After retiring, Corky served for many years on the Atlanta Police Department and was highly decorated, before joining Fulton County’s police force.

In his autobiography, Hank Aaron recalls Valentine as being the most ornery character in the league – “I’m not saying he was a racist; I think Corky Valentine just hated everybody.” Aaron writes that “[t]he scary thing, though, is that he eventually became a policeman somewhere in Georgia. That’s enough to make you drive fifty-five.” Corky surrendered one of true baseball home run champion Hammerin’ Hank’s 755 home runs.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)

photo from Baseball Almanac

Corky is part of the Cincinnati Reds Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

*Corky is also part of the Italian Ancestry Unsure/Doubtful Tour – Next Page

See all Corky’s baseball cards at TCDB

Visit a random Italian American MLB player:

Frank Riccelli: 3 year MLB career, 1st round draft pick

6 thoughts on “Harold “Corky” Valentine*: 2 year MLB career, became decorated Atlanta and Fulton County Police Officer after retiring

  1. Freddie Gasparini says:

    Sounds like a really mean guy, if you believe what Hank Aaron wrote.
    If he hadn’t had arm trouble, he might’ve had a decent major league career.

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