Bill Valentine

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Bill Valentine was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 21, 1932 to William Terry Valentine Sr. and Margaret Kremer Valentine. While growing up on West 11th Street in Little Rock, Bill worked at Traveler field and began umpiring games at fourteen. Valentine continued to umpire in the Central Arkansas League and the Little Rock Associated Amateurs League. He graduated in 1950 from North Little Rock High School and chose to attend a training school for professional baseball umpires in Daytona Beach, Florida after turning down a journalism scholarship to the Arkansas State Teachers College. Valentine became the youngest umpire in the history of professional baseball as he finished school at eighteen.

Valentine was a professional umpire for eighteen years with the Ohio-Indiana League, Texas League, and the American League. He umpired for the Major League All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1965. Valentine was known for being one of the two umpires to ever throw Mickey Mantle out of a ballgame. He also was known for ejecting Dave Wickersham of the Detroit Tigers in 1964 for grabbing him on the shoulder which violated a rule against touching umpires. Valentine also found time to referee basketball games. The National League umpires organized a union in 1963 after being unhappy with insufficient pay raises and uncalled for terminations. When Valentine was found to be involved with these activities in 1968 he was fired. Throughout the seventies, Valentine became a radio announcer for the Arkansas Travelers games. Valentine replaced Carl Sawatski as the general manager of the Travelers in 1975. Valentine promoted the games as the “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”

At the age of nineteen, Bill married Ellouise Pefferly on December 21, 1951. They remained married until she passed away in 1989. He later went on to marry in 1991 to Nena Duncan.

In 2003 Valentine was inducted in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Officials Association Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Texas League Hall of Fame in 2004.


  • "End of the World? Bill Valentine ... Retires!" (editorial) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 21, 2009.

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