Former Yomiuri Giants great Warren Cromartie won’t be returning to the team as an adviser for the 2021 season, he announced on Tuesday.
“It was a great opportunity to get back in a Giants uniform,” Cromartie told The Japan Times. “I wish them the best of luck for 2021 and beyond.”
Cromartie, who played with the Montreal Expos from 1974-1983 before becoming a three-time All-Star and the 1989 Central League MVP with the Giants in Japan, also released a statement to express his gratitude to the club.
“I wish to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Yomiuri Giants organization and especially Hara-kantoku for the opportunity and privilege of once again donning a Giants uniform,” Cromartie said in the statement, referencing Yomiuri manager Tatsunori Hara. “From my first time, over 26 years ago in 1984 as a player under my mentor and sensei Sadaharu Oh-kantoku and Hara-kantoku for the chance this past year to live out a second life with the Giants as an adviser, I have to say it was a true privilege and honor to work again with the greatest baseball team in Japan, whom I will always look back (on) with tremendous gratitude and fond memories.”
While Cromartie and the Giants are parting ways, he’ll be remaining in Japan. Cromartie, who has expressed interest in one day managing a team, said in the statement he will be looking at other opportunities in sports marketing and entertainment while keeping busy “growing already existing projects launched this year including The Cromartie YouTube Channel and a new instructional DVD & book on hitting that will be coming out shortly.”
Cromartie played with Yomiuri from 1984 to 1990, finishing with a .321 average, 171 home runs and 558 RBIs in seven seasons. In 1989, his MVP year, Cromartie led the CL with a .378 average and .449 on-base percentage. He was named to three Best Nine teams and was also an extremely popular figure with Yomiuri fans.
“There is no way to describe the enthusiasm of the Giants family — the organization, the team and most importantly, the fans; they are and have always been simply amazing,” he wrote in his statement.
Cromartie was already in Japan in 2019 when Hara, his former teammate, reached out to ask if he’d be interested in helping the team as a guest hitting instructor.
Cromartie has since given advice to a number of Giants players and worked closely with some of the foreign hitters. He also spent a lot of his second stint in uniform working with Yomiuri’s Kazuma Okamoto and felt he had a strong bond with the 24-year-old All-Star.
“He’s a great student,” Cromartie told The Japan Times. “Success comes with that. If you have a good student who’s buying what you’re selling, you’re on your way.”
Cromartie was also thankful for the chance to interact with other players around NPB.
“I had a relationship with (Munetaka) Murakami of the Yakult Swallows as well,” he said. “It was great having these ballplayers come up to me during the course of the year and talking little bits and pieces about hitting. I really appreciate that.”
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