New role forJapan baseball’s eccentric ‘Spaceman’

I have seen a lot of strange appointments to the post of baseball club manager in my long career as a journalist, but perhaps none so strange as the recent Nippon Ham Fighters front office decision to hire Tsuyoshi Shinjo as field manager for the 2022 season.

Shinjo was announced as the team’s 2022 pilot in a press conference in which he appeared in a gaudy suit with an extremely high collar, his hair dyed, and declared himself to be “the Big Boss.” He looked like an actor in a yakuza crime film.

Shinjo, a good-field, no-hit outfielder with the Hanshin Tigers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and, finally, the Nippon Ham Fighters, had been known primarily through his career as “Spaceman” for his bizarre behavior, which included touching home plate with his hand when scoring and displaying an outre fashion sense – leather suits, orange wraparound glasses, colorful wristbands and eyebrow makeup.

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