A first-round draft pick in 1973, Warren Cromartie shot straight to the major leagues, debuting with the Montreal Expos at age 20 one year later. He was a fixture in the Montreal lineup from 1977 to 1983, endearing himself to Expos fans for his charisma and excellent performance in the 1982 NLDS.
When he decided to go to Japan for the 1984 season at age 30, “Cro” became arguably the first American player to transfer to NPB in the middle of his prime. And what a brilliant move it was! Cromartie became a legend in Japan, leading the iconic Yomiuri Giants franchise to the 1989 Japan Series title after a Central League MVP season. With his competitive flare, clutch bat, and willingness to acclimate to the Japanese culture (including learning the language fluently), Cromartie is still revered by Giants fans.
His final NPB stats over seven seasons are the stuff of legend: batted over .300 five times, slugged 171 home runs, and led the team in home runs and batting twice and RBIs three times.