Various reports are out (including this one) that Hanshin Tigers hitting assistant coach Tom O’Malley will not be with the club in 2017 and beyond. According to articles I’ve read, O’Malley’s contract expires at the end of 2016 and the club has opted not to renew it. A team official has said that O’Malley was vital to helping some of the foreign players adjust to Japan and overcome the language barrier. However, it is also clear that the import bats did not perform well this past season, and this perhaps precipitated O’Malley’s departure from the team. Either way, Mr. O’Malley, who excelled with the team in the early 1990s and endeared fans to him with his catch phrase “Hanshin no fan wa ichiban ya!” (Hanshin fans are the best!), will be missed.
T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.