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Trey Hillman
Trey Hillman on July 27, 2009 (cropped).jpg
Hillman as manager for the Kansas City Royals in 2009
Kansas City Royals — No. 22
Born: January 4, 1963 (1963-01-04) (age 47)
Amarillo, Texas
Bats: Throws:
Professional debut
NPB: 2003 for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
MLB: March 31, 2008 for the Kansas City Royals
NPB statistics
Games     689
Win–loss record     351–323
Winning %     .521
MLB statistics
(through 2009)
Games     324
Win–loss record     142–182
Winning %     .438
Career highlights and awards

Thomas Brad "Trey" Hillman (born January 4, 1963 in Amarillo, Texas) is the current manager of the Kansas City Royals.

Hillman is the former manager of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan's Pacific League. On September 8, 2007 he announced that he would resign at the end of the season in order to spend more time with his family.[1] On October 19, Hillman was hired as the manager of the Kansas City Royals.[2]



Hillman signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1985. He did not play in the major leagues during his three-year professional career, but became a scout for the Indians in 1988. He became a coach for the New York Yankees' minor league organization, and managed in the minor leagues from 1990–2001. He became the director of player development for the Texas Rangers in 2002. On March 31, 2008, Hillman made his managerial debut for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers 5–4 in 11 innings to earn Hillman his first career managerial victory in MLB. Hillman said "It's a great honor, it's humbling."



Trey and his wife of more than 15 years, Marie, have two children, a son T.J.(15 years old), and a daughter Brianna (12 years old), and live in Liberty Hill, TX.

Managerial Career in Japan

Hillman was invited to manage the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in 2003. His team won the Pacific League championship in 2006, and returned to defend their title in 2007. It was the first pennant for the franchise in 25 years when they won the championship in 2006, and the repeated success in 2007 was accomplished despite the loss of key players such as Michihiro Ogasawara and Hideki Okajima. His team also won the Japan Series and Asia Series in 2006. The team set a franchise-record 14-game winning streak during the 2007 season.

He is one of the more popular managers in Japanese baseball, and is beloved by fans in Hokkaidō. He has made appearances in several local television commercials.

Hillman has been criticized for being too cold and calculating in using players. Pitcher Satoru Kanemura spoke out against Hillman after he had been removed in a two out, bases loaded situation in a game on September 24, 2006. Kanemura was angered because he would have gotten his 10th win of the year if he had gotten through the inning, and the team reacted harshly, penalizing Kanemura with a large fine, and a suspension (which was later shortened). Kanemura apologized to Hillman afterwards and went on to win Game 4 of the Japan Series.


Following the example of Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine, he showed his appreciation towards fans by speaking in broken Japanese sentences. After the game in which Fighters won the pennant in 2006, he shouted "Shinjirarenai!", the Japanese phrase stands for "Unbelievable", to the fans gathered in Sapporo Dome.[3] He repeated the phrase after winning the Nippon Series, and repeated again after winning the Asia Championship. Thus, like Boston Red Sox's "The Impossible Dream", Hillman's "Shinjirarenai" became the most popular term describing Fighters' success in 2006.

Leaving Japan

After the end of the 2006 season, Hillman was one of the final four candidates for the Texas Rangers' managerial position[4][2], but he eventually lost the job to Oakland Athletics third base coach Ron Washington. He was also a candidate for the San Diego Padres' managerial position around the same time, but the Padres elected to hire Bud Black instead. Following Joe Torre's departure from the New York Yankees, Hillman was considered to be a candidate to become the Yankees' next manager.[2] On October 19, 2007, Hillman signed a multi-year contract to manage the Kansas City Royals.[2] He is the first Major League Baseball manager to be hired based on his Japanese baseball record.[5]

Kansas City Royals

Hillman was hired by the Kansas City Royals on October 19, 2007 as the team's manager. Under Hillman, the Royals started the season 3–0 with a series sweep over the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers. Through 15 games, the team was 9-6 compared to their 4-11 start from the previous season. By the end of the season, the Royals' 75–87 record was the team's best since 2003. Hillman returned for a second season with the Royals in 2009 but the team tallied a 65–97 record despite a promising start to the season. Hillman served on Joe Maddon's coaching staff for the 2009 MLB All-Star Game.

Managerial record (MLB)

Record through the 2009 MLB season.

Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
KC 2008 75 87 .460 4th in AL Central - - -
KC 2009 65 97 .401 T-4th in AL Central - - -


  • Hillman's hobby is playing guitar and singing country songs. He performed every year on Fighters fans appreciation day, and also released a CD of Christmas songs. The CD was sold to fans in a special booth on appreciation day, and all profits were given to charity.
  • On his first trip to Japan, he read the baseball comic Dokaben to learn about Japanese baseball, not realizing that the majority of the events and characters in the comic are completely fictional. He also read Nitobe Inazo's book Bushido, to try to learn about the Japanese mentality.[6]
  • His first act after becoming manager of the Fighters was to personally clean the camp's locker room and bullpen, explaining that his job was to allow the players to be able to play as comfortably as possible.
  • He always has a stopwatch in one hand when he is on the bench.
  • He received some criticism from sports writers in Japan for allowing Tsuyoshi Shinjo to be congratulated before himself when the Fighters won the championship. Traditionally, the manager of the team is tossed in the air in celebration of a championship in Japan, but Hillman let his retiring player receive the honor in celebration of his career.

See also


  1. ^ "Fighters' Hillman to step down". The Daily Yomiuri. 2007-09-09. Retrieved 2007-09-09.  
  2. ^ a b c d Kaegel, Dick. Royals introduce Hillman as new manager, 22 October 2007.
  3. ^ "Fighters win Pacific League". The Japan Times. 2006-10-13.  
  4. ^ The Official Site of The Texas Rangers: News: Rangers' job narrowed down to four
  5. ^ Neel, Eric. "Could one of these guys be your team's next manager?" ESPN Magazine, 17 June 2008.
  6. ^

External links

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Brian Butterfield
Oneonta Yankees Manager
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Jack Gillis
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Brian Butterfield
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first manager
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Lee Mazzilli
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Columbus Clippers Manager
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Brian Butterfield
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Buddy Bell
Kansas City Royals Manager
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