Bobby Valentine May Or May Not Have Invented The Wrap Sandwich

The Red Sox announced Bobby Valentine as their new manager yesterday, and that's a hell of a thing. Good for them. But Valentine brings with him many unanswered questions. Can he prevent another collapse? Can he get up to speed on innovations in MLB since 2002? And did he really invent the wrap?

We'll let Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal explain:

"Oy, the wrap thing," Valentine said as he shook his head Thursday at his introduction as the new Boston skipper.

It's a story that Valentine has told for years. That in 1980, he was crafting a club sandwich at his Stamford restaurant, Bobby Valentine's Sports Gallery Café, when the toaster broke. At a loss, Valentine wrapped the sandwich components in a tortilla. The former big leaguer called it a Club Mex, but others took to calling it by a different name, and voilà: The wrap was born.

Well, that sounds plausible enough, right? Wrong:

But Valentine isn't the only claimant.

A California restaurant chain, I Love Juicy, is often credited with popularizing the wrap in the U.S., and a Boston eatery, Sami's Falafel, claims to have been offering the wrapped sandwich since 1979, though they called it a roll-up through most of the 1980s, said current owner Sami Saba, son of the founder.

"I was thinking of that this morning. Every time I hear them say that [Valentine] made it, I start yelling—we've been making wraps in Lebanon forever," Saba said.

But the Lebanese wrap doesn't look entirely like the American wrap. And, complicating things further, a food historian quoted by the Journal says the wrap as we know it may have not even emerged until the 1990s!

Can Bobby Valentine be trusted? Like so many government officials, Bobby Valentine has pulled the wool over our eyes. Difference is, he then shoved a stuffed tortilla in our mouths.

Did This Man Really Invent the Wrap? [Wall Street Journal]