A couple of weeks ago MLB.com had an article about odd teams that Hall Of Famers briefly played for in their careers. The first examples it gives are Mike Piazza spending a week playing for the Marlins in 1998 and Ken Griffey Jr. spending a couple months playing for the White Sox ten years later. The article lists at least one "cameo" appearance by a Hall Of Famer for almost every team.
I thought it might be kind of fun to do something similar for NPB but there were two factors that turned it into a somewhat daunting task. The first is that players don't switch teams in NPB anywhere near as often as in MLB. The second is that the Japanese Baseball Hall Of Fame is woefully under populated. There are any number of players who should be in the Hall but aren't for whatever reason. No one's been elected on the "Players Division" ballot since 2019 and the "Experts Division" has only elected Koichi Tabuchi in the last two years. So to make this do-able, I expanded the scope a little. I decided to include players from the Meikyukai as well as the Hall Of Fame. I also decided that I'd consider stints longer than the traditional definition of a "short term stop". My hope is that readers will still go "Oh, yeah, I forgot he played for that team" even if the player in question played for the team for five years.
Even with expanding the scope as much as I did, one team in particular was difficult. But we'll get to that. On the plus side, I was able to come up with 27 examples for the 13 (including Kintetsu) NPB teams and have cards to show for 24 of them. Obviously that means that I came up with more than one player for several teams.
One note - all players listed are Hall Of Famers unless I specifically mention that they are not. Not all Hall Of Famers are Meikyukai members but I'm not explicitly mentioning the ones who aren't. (And for players who are listed multiple times, I'll only mention that they aren't a Hall Of Famer the first time I talk about them.)
Chiba Lotte Marines (including Mainichi/Daimai/Tokyo/Lotte Orions)
|2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #367|
|1978 Yamakatsu JY10|
Katsuya Nomura had spent 24 seasons with the Nankai Hawks, including the last eight as player-manager, before being fired and released by the team after the 1977 season. He joined the Lotte Orions for one season in 1978, hitting .226 with just three home runs, before moving on. We'll be seeing him again later.
|2016 BBM The Ballpark Stories #113|
|1961 Marusan JCM 12d|
Wally Yonamine was the first American to play in Japan after World War II. He joined the Giants in 1951 and spent ten seasons with them. The Giants let him go after he only hit .226 in 1960 and he joined the Dragons. He only hit .178 in 76 games in 1961 and .214 in 17 games in 1962 before he retired. He would go on to manage the Dragons from 1972 to 1977, leading the team to the Nippon Series in 1974 for the first time in 20 years (and also breaking the Giants' consecutive Central League pennant streak at nine).
|2015 Epoch Dragons X Mizuno #03|
I hesitated on including some of the more recent players but enough time has passed on a couple of these that people may have forgotten that these players were on these teams. After 16 seasons with the Nippon-Ham Fighters and Yomiuri Giants, Michihiro Ogasawara finished his career with two seasons with the Dragons. He was mostly a pinch hitter in those two seasons, hitting .301 in 81 games in 2014 and .294 in 53 games in 2015. He is the first player I've mentioned so far who is not in the Hall Of Fame.
I considered including Norihiro Nakamura here but since he was MVP of the 2007 Nippon Series I decided that people had probably not forgotten he was with the Dragons, even though he only spent two years in Nagoya.
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (including Nankai and Fukuoka Daiei Hawks)
|1987 Takara Hawks #7|
|2015 Epoch Tigers Champions 1985 #03|
|1993 BBM #342|
Hiroshima Toyo Carp
|1983 Calbee #193|
|2011 BBM Carp #C47|
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
|1997 Calbee #023|
Orix Buffaloes (including Hankyu Braves and Orix Braves/BlueWave)
|1989 Lotte #40|
|2006 SCM #65|
|2006 Calbee #025|
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes
|2016 BBM Fusion #092|
Saitama Seibu Lions (including Nishitetsu/Taiheiyo Club/Crown Lighter Lions)
|1974/75 Calbee #860|
|1979 TCMA #13|
|1984 Takara Kids Lions #18|
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
|2009 BBM 1st Version #169|
Tokyo Yakult Swallows
|2001 BBM #339|
|2021 BBM 1st Version #311|
Yokohama DeNA Baystars (including Taiyo Whales, Yokohama Taiyo Whales, Yokahama Baystars)
|2009 BBM Baystars #YB28|
|1981 Calbee #328|
|2004 BBM Giants #G047|