Former coach Furuta, who is considered the best catcher of all time
Former Yakult Swallows coach Atsuya Furuta (58) was a catcher who was widely known to Korean baseball fans and had a rich era. He ranks 메이저놀이터 with former Rakuten Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura and former Chiba Lotte Marines manager Stormu Ito as the all-time best catchers in Japanese professional baseball. For quite some time he was a ‘role model’ for catchers.
Former coach Furuta, who works as a broadcast commentator, will participate in Yakult’s Okinawa spring camp as a temporary coach this year. He coaches the Yakult players who have achieved two consecutive Central League titles. It is 3 years in a row from 2021.
He says the role has been added this year. Former coach Furuta appeared on a Japanese TV program on the 29th and announced that he had been invited to the spring camp of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League as a temporary coach. He joked, “I will return to Arizona as a professional interim coach.”
As a player, he had a clever pitching lead, excellent steal-stopping percentage, as well as excellent batting talent. In 1991, his second year as a pro, he hit 3.4 and won the Central League batting title. In 1993, he had 161 hits, ranking first in hits.
In 1993 and 1997, when Yakult won the league and Japan Series championships, he played a big role in the regular season and was selected as the MVP. He even won MVP in 1997 when he won the Japan Series with the Seibu Lions. He became the first catcher to be named regular season and Japan Series MVP. He deserves to be called ‘Mr. Swallows’.
He appeared in 2008 career games, batting 2.99 with 2097 hits, 217 home runs and 1009 runs batted in. These are the results he achieved for 18 years while playing only as a Yakult player.
The player Furuta and the leader Furuta were very different. He took over as player and manager in 2006 and was sluggish throughout the two seasons. In 2006, he placed third, and in 2007 he fell to last place. After laying down the baton at the end of 2007, he never got a chance to become a professional team leader again.