- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 154 lb.
- High School Fukushima High School
Switch-hitting Norifumi Nishimura played 18 years with Lotte in Nippon Pro Baseball. He was a five-time All-Star, won a batting title and led in steals four times.
Nishimura was a fifth-round draft pick in 1981 after playing for Kagoshima Tetsudo Kanrikyoku in the industrial leagues. He debuted in 1982, playing six games and scoring two runs but not batting once. He became a regular in 1983, hitting .241/.267/.313 in 95 games. He was a starter on the infield by 1984, batting .285/.318/.389 with 25 steals in 38 attempts.
In 1985, Norifumi produced at a .311/.355/.424 clip with 9 triples, 83 runs and 33 steals (in 38 tries). He led the Pacific League in triples and was five steals behind leader Hiromi Matsunaga. Nishimura won a Diamond Glove Award at second base and made the Best Nine at second. He also made his first PL All-Star team. He was 9th in the league in average.
Nishimua hit .284/.347/.346 in 1986 and was 36-for-45 in steal attempts; he scored 71 times. He led the league in steals for the first time. In 1987, he batted .264/.311/.320 and stole 41 bases while being thrown out 14 times. He led the PL in both steals (tied with Daijiro Oishi) and times caught stealing. He made his second All-Star team.
Nishimura hit .256/.310/.301 in 1988 and swiped 55 bases in 62 attempts. He was an All-Star and led the circuit in steals. He batted .281/.352/.347 in 1989 with 42 steals in 54 attempts. He led in steals for the 4th straight year. That year, he became an outfielder.
Nishimura had a career year in 1990, batting .338/.418/.443 with 35 SB in 43 tries. He won the batting title by .024 over Oishi. He won a Gold Glove in the outfield and also made the Best Nine as a flyhawk.
In 1991, Norifumi hit .275/.343/.330 with 23 steals in 29 tries. He batted .216/.285/.290 in 1992 with 14 steals in 16 tries. In 1993, the veteran produced at a .250/.319/.321 rate with 21 swipes in 28 attempts and made his last All-Star squad.
Nishimura saw his playing time fall in 1994 (.247/.303/.314 in 75 G, 15 SB, 3 CS) and 1995 (.213/.333/.240 in 91 G, 7 SB, 3 CS). He only played 34 games in 1996, going 2 for 25 with 6 walks, 4 steals and 9 runs. He was 0 for 1 to end his career in 1997.
Nishimura played 1,433 games in Nippon Pro Baseball with a .272/.333/.343 career batting line and 363 steals in 460 tries. As of 2008, he is 12th in league history in swipes (between Morimichi Takagi and Takuro Ishii).
After retiring as a player, Nishimura coached for Lotte. In 2009, the club announced he would success the successful Bobby Valentine as manager. His first season at the helm, 2010, he guided Chiba Lotte to its second PL pennant ever, then their second Japan Series title, beating the Chunichi Dragons in the 2010 Japan Series. He won the Matsutaro Shoriki Award for his work. The team slumped to 54-79-11 in 2011 and 62-67-15 in 2012 before losing his job. He returned to the managerial ranks in 2019, going 61-75-7 with the Orix Buffaloes after replacing Junichi Fukura.
Primary Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com