Thomas Brad Hillman
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lbs.
- School University of Texas at Arlington
He was signed by the Cleveland Indians as a free agent on June 22, 1985. That year, Hillman hit .113/~.286/.161 as a middle infielder for the Batavia Trojans. He hit .107/~.375/.143 for the Waterloo Indians in 28 AB and .222/~.349/.250 in 108 AB for the Waterbury Indians in 1986. With the Kinston Indians in 1987 he hit .172/~.280/.201 in 174 AB while continuing to show an excellent eye.
After his playing career ended, Hillman spent the latter part of 1987 and all of 1988 scouting for the Indians in the Oklahoma/Texas area. Starting in 1989, Hillman spent 13 years in the New York Yankees organization primarily as a manager at every level and won three Manager of the Year awards and guided his teams to three first-place finishes. In 2002, Hillman was named Director of Player Development for the Texas Rangers. The following year, Trey signed a two-year contract to be the manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese professional baseball's Pacific League. He guided the club to its first Japan Series title ever in 2006. He was interviewed for the position as 2007 manager of the Oakland Athletics but remained with Nippon Ham and guided them to the best record in the PL. Hillman said he would not return to Japan for 2008 and there was speculation he was being considered for the New York Yankees job. On October 19th, 2007, Hillman accepted a multi-year managerial offer from the the Kansas City Royals.
Hillman's final games managing in Japan were a disappointment as the Fighters dropped four in a row in the 2007 Japan Series after winning game one. They only mustered four runs in those four games, including suffering the first perfect game in Series history in Game Five. The Fighters tied a Series record by scoring only 7 runs.
A lot was expected from Hillman in Kansas City following his success both in the minor leagues and in Japan. After a relatively promising first year in 2008, when the Royals went 75-87 and finished out of the cellar, the team fell back by 10 games in 2009 in spite of an outstanding year by pitcher Zack Greinke. When the Royals did even worse to start the 2010 season, Hillman was fired after the game of May 13 and replaced by former Milwaukee Brewers skipper Ned Yost. Criticisms directed at Hillman included the fact that he was unable to find a set alignment for the team, that he gave too much playing time to washed-up veterans at the detriment of developing players, and that he led a bullpen that was in continual chaos behing closer Joakim Soria.
In 2011, Hillman joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, serving as bench coach under new manager Don Mattingly until the end of the 2013 season. In 2014, he was a special coach with the New York Yankees and in 2015, he moved to the Houston Astros as bench coach, under new manager A.J. Hinch. He was replaced by Alex Cora following the 2016 season. He then became manager of South Korea's SK Wyverns for 2017, their first foreign manager.
|Kansas City Royals Manager