Former Swallows Players in the News

Just a quick roundup of three recent news tidbits:

1. Rob Smaal, staff writer for the Asahi, recently wrote about the unlikely connection between former Swallows shortstop, Dave Hilton, and one of Japan’s best living authors, Haruki Murakami.

Apparently Murakami, a Swallows fan, was at Jingu on Opening Day of the 1978 season, and Hilton’s lead-off double turned out to be something like a magical stroke of inspiration for the now world-famous novelist.

Murakami recently wrote, “Something flew down from the sky at that instant, and whatever it was, I accepted it.”

Read the entire article here.

2. Neither surprising nor positive, the New York Mets have decided to let former Tokyo Swallow fireballer, Ryota Igarashi, look for work elsewhere. Due to a clause in Igarashi’s contract, that makes him a free agent after only two seasons in the bigs.

According to an article on, Igarashi has signaled his intention to try and continue his playing career in North America, even if it means signing a minor league contract.

As was expected by those of us who watched Igarashi play for several years, he struggled with his command at the major league level and found himself getting dropped to triple-A on a regular basis.

Through two full seasons and 79 appearances (69 innings pitched), Igarashi compiled a 1.81 RIP, and an ERA of 5.74.

Read the entire MLB article here.

Hopefully if/when he plays in Japan again, he’ll give Tokyo first right of refusal on his services.

3. Media commentator Hideki Kuriyama, who played for the Swallows from 1985-89, is apparently a front-runner for the managerial job in Hokkaido that will be left open when Nashida steps down at the end of this season.

Nashida has had a very successful run in Hokkaido after he took over for Trey Hillman a few years ago, but he decided that he would not seek a contract extension after the 2011 season ends.

Kuriyama, 50, has no coaching or managing experience, so we’re not sure why Hokkaido would even consider throwing him into the top job. Expect him to be a media darling though, so maybe it’s more of a business decision than a baseball decision.


About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini