April 27, 1966 |
|May 18, 1992, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 30, 1994, for the New York Mets|
|Earned run average||4.85|
John Eric Hillman (born April 27, 1966 in Gary, Indiana) is a former Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher. He pitched his entire 3-year MLB career with the New York Mets (1992–1994). After his MLB career, he pitched in NPB from 1995-1998 for the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Yomiuri Giants. Hillman was tied with fellow former pitcher Randy Johnson and current pitchers Andrew Sisco of the New York Yankees organization and Chris Young of the New York Mets, for the tallest player in the league, at 6 ft 10 in (2.1 m), before later being passed by 6 ft 11 in (2.1 m) Jon Rauch of the Toronto Blue Jays. Hillman worked as an analyst for FSN Rocky Mountain's coverage of the Colorado Rockies between 2005-2008.
Nippon Professional Baseball career
He also played four seasons in Japan. He played first with the Chiba Lotte Marines where Bobby Valentine was manager. In 1995, his first season in Japan, Hillman had 12 wins and 9 losses. In 1996, he logged 14 wins and 9 losses and was voted the best nine. Hillman was also voted MVP of the 1996 All-Star game. In 1997, the Yomiuri Giants purchased his contract, signing him to a $7.5 million, two-year deal. The Giants expected him to be a key player in their quest for a championship.
Hillman, however, disappointed as he spent most of the time on the disabled list with shoulder pain. In 1997, he pitched only 6 innings. In 1998, he was still on the disabled list and continued to have severe pain in his throwing shoulder. On June 1, 1998 the Giants released him. After returning to the US, Hillman underwent arthroscopic surgery in July, 1998. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery and discovered a full thickness tear in the rotator cuff, a diagnosis the Japanese doctors and trainers had missed. Hillman officially retired from baseball on April 19, 2000. He played high school ball at Homewood-Flossmoor in suburban Chicago.