The first Westerner to manage in Japan was Joe Lutz*. Lutz had been hitting coach for the Carp in 1974 and moved into the managerial job in 1975. He only lasted 15 games, however, before resigning due to some difficulties with the umpires. The Carp went on to win their first Central League pennant that year under new manager Takeshi Koba. This is the only card I know of depicting Lutz with the Carp and it shows him as hitting coach in 1974:
|1974 Broder Carp #64|
The next Westerner to manage in Japan was Don Blasingame*. Blasingame (aka "Blazer") had played for the Nankai Hawks for a few years in the late 60's and was head coach for Katsuya Nomura when Nomura was player-manager for the Hawks in the 1970's. He left the Hawks when Nomura was fired following the 1977 season and spent 1978 as a coach for the Carp. The Tigers hired him to manage their team in 1979. He resigned 26 games into the 1980 season after a dispute about playing time between Dave Hilton and Akinobu Okada. He was then picked up by Nankai and managed the Hawks for the 1981-82 seasons.
|1979 TCMA #80|
|2013 BBM Hawks 75th Anniversary #31|
The next Western manager was Bobby Valentine, who was hired by the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1995. Valentine had a very successful year, leading the Marines to a second place finish which was their highest finish in ten years, but was let go at the end of the season due to some front office intrigue. He returned to the Marines in 2004 (after having managed the Mets from 1996 to 2002) and lead them to a Nippon Series championship in 2005. He was the first Western manager to win a Nippon Series* and the only manager to ever lead a team to both the World Series and the Nippon Series. He was fired by Lotte following the 2009 season, again for reasons involving front office intrigue.
|2005 BBM Nippon Series #01|
Trey Hillman became the fourth Westerner to manage in Japan when he was hired by the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2003. He lead the Fighers to back-to-back Nippon Series appearances against the Dragons in 2006 and 2007 - winning it all in 2006. He resigned following the 2007 season to become manager of the Kansas City Royals.
|2006 BBM Nippon Series #S01|
|2003 BBM 2nd Version #774|
|2007 BBM 1st Version #145|
|2010 BBM 1st Version #253|
|2007 BBM Rookie Edition #113|