Hillman takes up Ham’s fight

By John Manuel
October 25, 2002

Trey Hillman announced he was leaving his post as the Rangers’ farm director to become manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japanese Pacific League.

Hillman, a former minor league manager in the Yankees organization, will join Bobby Valentine as the only other American to manage a Japanese team. Reports have placed his contract for the Fighters at upwards of $1 million.

“It should be a unique learning experience for me,” Hillman said Thursday. “If the longevity isn’t there–it’s a two-year deal–it should prepare me hopefully for managing down the road.”

Hillman was considered a candidate for the Rangers’ managerial post, but it went instead to another former Yankees minor league manager, Buck Showalter. Hillman worked the Rangers’ instructional league in Surprise, Ariz., but has returned to Texas and leaves for Tokyo on Nov. 2.

Bob Miscik, Hillman’s assistant last season, takes over as farm director, though assistant general manager Grady Fuson remains in charge of the club’s scouting and player-development operations. Miscik has spent six seasons with the Rangers organization, serving as a roving defensive instructor in addition to a brief managerial stint in the Class A Florida State League.