OSAKA – Seibu Lions catcher Ginjiro Sumitani was elected to succeed Motohiro Shima as the head of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association on Thursday.
“I’ll do my best to make the association better like my predecessor (Shima) did,” the 30-year-old Sumitani said after he was chosen as the ninth chairman at a convention in Osaka.
Sumitani joined the Lions in 2006 and has served as the head of the Seibu players’ union since last year. He represented Japan in the World Baseball Classic twice, earlier this year and in 2013.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles catcher Shima, 32, served as head of the union since 2012 and in that time worked to improve the contract renewal negotiation process.
The JPBPA was formed to improve conditions for players, and every Japanese baseballer, as well as several foreign players in the 12 professional teams, are members, according to the association’s website.