Iwamura and Rays march on to the World Series

Ex-Swallow Akinori Iwamura will become the first former Yakult player to grace a MLB world series as his Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox in a thrilling ALCS in seven games.  Akinori made the last out of the game, fielding a grounder from Jed Lowrie and making the force out at second to start scenes of wild celebrations at Tropicana Field.

Iwamura hit for a .207 average in the ALCS, hitting 6 times, including 2 doubles,  scoring 4 runs in the series with an OBP of .324.  He did strikeout 5 times in the series however, with 5 base on balls to go with them.

He is now hitting a respectable .277 in the postseason as a whole, with 8 singles, 3 doubles, a triple and a home run to the tune of 4 RBIs.

Since moving to the Majors in 2007 Aki has made a great transition from 3rd to 2nd in the field, and the multi-time NPB golden-glove winner is now arguably one of the best 2nd basemen in the MLB.   This on top of him transitioning well with the bat too, from the cleanup spot in NPB, to the leadoff hole with the Rays.

Well done Aki, we at Tsubamegun will be pulling for you against the Phillies in the World Series.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Ex-Swallow Akinori Iwamura will become the first former Yakult player to grace the MLB world series

    This is true as far as I know – anyone know any different?

  • Is So Taguchi the first former Orix player to be in a World Series?

  • As far as I know, yes.

  • The Japanese players who have got a champion ring are Irabu, Iguchi, Takatsu, Taguchi, Matsuzaka, and Okajima.
    So Iwamura will not be the first former Yakult player to have the honor.

  • Ah, I forgot about Takatsu. Thanks, Tomnish.

  • Rob

    Charlie Manuel – first Swallows alumnus to manage in a World Series?

  • Has any other former Swallow been a Major League manager? Manuel was the Indians’ hitting coach when they went to the Series in 1995.

    Although he’s not a player now, he played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, which might be of interest to npbcardguy.

  • Only guy that comes to mind, other than Manuel, is former Swallow, Leon Lee, who played for Tokyo from 86-87. Never coached a big league team, but made it as high as coaching the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones in the New York Mets organization.

  • “Although he’s not a player now, he played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, which might be of interest to npbcardguy.”

    See http://japanesebaseballcards.blogspot.com/2008/10/card-of-week-october-5.html

    For some reason, I had completely spaced the fact that Taguchi had already played in two World Series.

    Takatsu was not with the White Sox for the World Series in 2005. He was released August 1 of that year and finished the season with the Mets. So I think Iwamura will be the first ex-Swallow to actually appear in the World Series.

    Irabu may have gotten a ring, but he never actually appeared in the World Series for the Yankees.

    Tom O’Malley managed the Newark Bears for a few years.

  • Tom O’Malley managed the Newark Bears for a few years.

    True true. And I could be wrong, but I think he now works for Hanshin as a scout in North America.

  • Sam Perlozzo played for Yakult in 1980 and managed the Orioles from 2005-2007.

  • Good call, npbcardguy!

    According to BR Bullpen, Pelozzo’s 1980 stats were:
    118 Games
    .281 BA
    .325 OBP
    .406 SLG
    15 HR
    43 RBI

    Perlozzo is currently under contract with the Seattle Mariners as their third base coach.

  • Nicely done, I could have racked my brain for weeks and not come up with Sam Perlozzo. So that makes two. Not too shabby.