|Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks|
|League||Nippon Professional Baseball (1950–present)|
|Ballpark||Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome (1993–present)|
|Japanese Baseball League titles||2 (1946, 1948)|
|Pacific League pennants||18 (1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1973, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017)|
|Japan Series championships||9 (1959, 1964, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)|
|Former league(s)||Japanese Baseball League (1938–1949)|
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks(福岡ソフトバンクホークスFukuoka Sofutobanku Hōkusu) are a Japanese baseball team based in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture. The team was bought on January 28, 2005 by the SoftBank Corporation.
The team was formerly known as the Nankai Hawks and was based in Osaka. In 1988, Daiei bought the team from Osaka's Nankai Electric Railway Co., and its headquarters were moved to Fukuoka (which had been without NPB baseball since the Lions departed in 1979). The Daiei Hawks won the Pacific League championship in 1999, 2000 and 2003 and won the Japan Series in 1999 and 2003, and as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, won the Japan Series in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018.
Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Japan. It is the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and among the largest in the world with over 19 million inhabitants. Osaka will host Expo 2025. The current mayor of Osaka is Hirofumi Yoshimura.
The Daiei, Inc., based in Kobe, is one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan. In 1957, Isao Nakauchi founded the chain in Osaka near Sembayashi Station on the Keihan train line. Daiei is now under a restructuring process supported by Marubeni Corporation and ÆON Co., Ltd., another Japanese supermarket chain. Daiei Inc. currently runs more than 3,000 stores under the Daiei name as well as through its subsidiaries. In addition to groceries, Daiei is also a department store, selling electronics, home furnishings, and clothes. In terms of net sales, Daiei used to be the largest retailer in Japan. However, total sales declined by nearly a quarter in the five years leading up to 2003.
Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd. is a private railway in Japan, founded in 1884. The name Nankai comes from the company's routes along the Nankaidō, the old highway that ran south from the old capital, Kyoto, along the sea coast. Nankai predates all the electric railways in the Tokyo region.
The franchise's original name was Nankai when it joined the Japanese Baseball League (JBL) in 1938, with the name originating with the Nankai Electric Railway Co., which owned the team at the time. The team's name was changed to Kinki Nipponin mid-1944 as it received partial sponsorship from Kinki Nippon Railway. After the 1945 hiatus in the JBL due to the Greater East Asia War, in 1946 the team's name was changed to Kinki Great Ring and the team won the JBL championship. Throughout the name changes the club underwent between 1938 and 1946, Nankai Electric Railway Co. (in one form or another) maintained ownership of the franchise.
The Japanese Baseball League was a professional baseball league in Japan which operated from 1936–1949, before reorganizing in 1950 as Nippon Professional Baseball.
The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
In mid-1947, Nankai settled upon its current moniker. The Nankai Hawks(南海ホークス). Under player-manager Kazuto Tsuruoka (known as Kazuto Yamamoto from 1946–1958) they became one of the most successful franchises through the first two decades of the Pacific League's existence, taking two Japan Series championships and 10 Pacific League pennants. (Kazuto managed the team from 1946–1968, becoming the full-time manager after his retirement as a player in 1952.)
The Pacific League or Pa League is one of the two professional baseball leagues constituting Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship competes against the winner in the Central League for the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around Japan.
In 1964, the Hawks team sent pitching prospect Masanori Murakami and two other young players to the San Francisco Giants single-A team Fresno as a baseball "exchange student". On September 1 of that year Murakami became the first Japanese player to play in Major League Baseballwhen he appeared on the mound for the San Francisco Giants. Disputes over the rights to his contract eventually led to the 1967 United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement. Murakami returned to the Hawks in 1966, playing for them through 1974. He contributed to the team's league championship in 1973.
Masanori "Mashi" Murakami is a retired Japanese baseball player.
The San Francisco Giants are an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division.
Fresno is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.
The team fell on hard times between 1978 and 1988, finishing no better than 4th place out of the 6 teams in the Pacific League in any year in the period. The team witnessed its fan base diminish as a result of the prolonged period of poor play, with attendance dropping and the club dealing with reduced profits.
The change in the club's financial performance led Nankai Electric Railway to question the value of maintaining ownership, even after considering the value the team represented as an advertising tool. The company's board of directors and union leadership put pressure on Den Kawakatsu, then-president of Nankai Railway and primary owner of the team, to sell the team, which he refused to do. However, Mr. Kawakatsu, who represented the most ardent supporter of Nankai's ownership of the Hawks, died early in the 1988 season, and the team was sold to the Daiei Corporation to become the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks after the 1988 season.
Katsuya Nomura, Mutsuo Minagawa, Hiromitsu Kadota, and Chusuke Kizuka are among the more notable franchise players that were active during the Nankai era.
After the franchise was acquired by department store chain Daiei, Inc., the Hawks were flush with new funds and a new home city in Fukuoka, the capital of the eponymous prefecture on Kyushu Island. The city had been without professional baseball since the departure of the Crown Lighter Lions (today's Saitama Seibu Lions) in 1978. However, in spite of those efforts of the new ownership, the Hawks still were usually in the cellar of the Pacific League, and continued to be at the bottom half of the league until 1997.
The Hawks front office adopted a strategy of drafting and developing younger players, supplemented by free agent signings, a policy overseen by team president Ryuzo Setoyama and his aides. Setoyama's most brilliant moves were the hiring of home run king Sadaharu Oh in 1995 to take the reins of manager, a title he would hold until 2008 before he moved into the general manager's position. Oh replaced then-manager Rikuo Nemoto, who was named team president and held that position until his death in 1999. Also tapped was Akira Ishikawa, a little-known former player, who was tasked with bringing in talented amateurs. He brought in the likes of current Hanshin Tigers catcher Kenji Johjima, Kazumi Saitoh, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, future Chicago White Sox and current Chiba Lotte Marines infielder Tadahito Iguchi, shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, and future team captain Hiroki Kokubo.
Supplementing the amateur signings were some free-agent acquisitions, most of them former Seibu stars from their 1980s championship teams. Among them were infielder Hiromichi Ishige, immensely popular outfielder (and Hawks manager from 2008–2014, replacing Oh in that capacity) Koji Akiyama, and ace left-handed pitcher and current manager Kimiyasu Kudoh.
These moves (and a few unpopular cost-cutting measures) helped to make the Hawks gradually more competitive with each passing year, and in 1999, the team finally broke through. That season, Daiei made their first Japan Series appearance since 1973, and defeated the Chunichi Dragons in five games, giving them their first championship since 1964. Kudoh was dominant in his Game 1 start (complete game, 13 strikeouts), and Akiyama was named Series MVP.
The following year, the Hawks again made the Japan Series, but this time lost to the powerful Yomiuri Giants in six games. Despite the shaky financial ground that Daiei was on thanks to their rampant expansion in bubble-era Japan, the team continued to be competitive. The team won their second Japan Series in five years, defeating the popular Hanshin Tigers in seven games in the 2003 Japan Series, an exciting series in which the home team won every game.
In 2001, American Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes, playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, hit 55 home runs with several games left, equaling Hawks' manager Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record. The Buffaloes played a weekend series against the Oh-managed Hawks late in the season, and Rhodes was intentionally walked during each at-bat of the series. Video footage showed Hawks' catcher Kenji Johjima grinning as he caught the intentional balls. Oh denied any involvement and Hawks battery coach Yoshiharu Wakana stated that the pitchers acted on his orders, saying, "It would be distasteful to see a foreign player break Oh's record." Rhodes completed the season with 55 home runs. League commissioner Hiromori Kawashima denounced the Hawks' behavior as "unsportsmanlike". Hawks pitcher Keisaburo Tanoue went on record saying that he wanted to throw strikes to Rhodes and felt bad about the situation.
In 2002, Venezuelan Alex Cabrera hit 55 home runs with five games left in the season, with several of those to be played against Oh's Hawks. Oh told his pitchers to throw strikes to Cabrera, but most of them ignored his order and threw balls well away from the plate. After the game, Oh stated, "If you're going to break the record, you should do it by more than one. Do it by a lot."In the wake of the most recent incident involving Cabrera, ESPN listed Oh's single-season home run record as #2 on its list of "The Phoniest Records in Sports".
Daiei Inc had been under financial pressure to sell its 60% stake in the team over the previous few years, with reports in 2003 suggesting the company would sell the team and the Fukuoka Dome. Daiei attempted to hold on to the team and held discussions with its primary lenders, including UFJ Bank, to see if it could find a way to retain the team, but ultimately the sale went through to SoftBank in January 2005.
The Hawks continued their winning ways after the sale of the team to SoftBank. Following the sale, the Hawks represented one of the richest teams in Japan, with a player core still intact from the last years of the Daiei era. Particularly strong was the team's starting pitching behind Saitoh, Tsuyoshi Wada, Nagisa Arakaki, and Toshiya Sugiuchi. In 2005, the Hawks finished in first place during the regular season, but fell to the eventual Japan Series champions, the Chiba Lotte Marines in the second stage of the Climax Series. In 2006, a dramatic pennant race led to an even more exciting playoff run that ended in the Sapporo Dome at the hands of the eventual Japan Series Champions, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. Team manager Sadaharu Oh missed most of the 2006 season due to stomach cancer.
The Hawks' 2007 season was plagued by injuries and general ineffectiveness and inconsistency, leading to another 3rd-place finish and first-stage exit in the playoffs at the hands of the Marines. In 2008, though various injuries still affected the Hawks' bench (especially the bullpen), the club claimed its first Interleague title in June, winning a tiebreaker against the Hanshin Tigers. However, injuries caught up with them in the final month of the season, and the Hawks finished in last place with a 54–74–2 record. The finish represented their worst since 1996.
At the end of the 2008 season, Oh announced his retirement, and former Hawk and fan favorite Koji Akiyama was named as Oh's successor. In 2009, the team cracked the playoffs once again on the backs of breakout seasons from surging starting pitcher D. J. Houlton, outfielder Yuya Hasegawa, Rookie of the Year Tadashi Settsu and another stellar season from ace Sugiuchi. However, the team still was unable to get out of the first stage, as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles ousted the Hawks in a 2-game sweep.
The Hawks finally reclaimed the Pacific League regular season title in 2010 after a seven-year wait. The title came after a see-saw season in which the team recovered several times after extended losing streaks. Starting pitcher Wada, back from injury through much of the previous two seasons, was, along with fellow ace Sugiuchi, at his best. Wada set career highs in wins and games started. The reliable "SBM" relieving trio of Settsu, Brian Falkenborg, and Mahara limited opponent offenses late in games. The bullpen also benefited from the emergence of Keisuke Kattoh and Masahiko Morifuku, with the latter blossoming in the second half of the season.
The Hawks offense was largely composed of role players who seemed to take turns having big games and off days, and it was the team's speed that drove the team as the Hawks led the league in stolen bases in the regular season with 148, well ahead of their nearest challenger, who had 116. Yuichi Honda stole 59 bases while Kawasaki stole 30. However, despite putting forward a strong group, the Hawks failed to make it to the Japan Series, losing to the Lotte Marines in six games in the Climax Series despite having a 3–1 series lead.
SoftBank won the Pacific League again in 2011, with a dominating season on all fronts. The offense was bolstered further by the acquisition of former Yokohama BayStars outfielder Seiichi Uchikawa, who led the league in batting in 2011. Pitching from Sugiuchi, Wada and an excellent bounce-back season from Houlton also helped propel the team to the best record in NPB. After sweeping the Saitama Seibu Lions in the Pacific League Climax Series, the Hawks took on the Chunichi Dragons to win the Japan Series, a rematch of the 1999 Japan Series. The Dragons pushed SoftBank to the full seven games, but the Hawks shut out the Dragons 3–0 in the seventh game to win their first Japan Series since 2003.
The 2012 season started with losses for the Hawks. During the off season, they lost their star starters Tsuyoshi Wada (to the Baltimore Orioles), Toshiya Sugiuchi and D.J. Houlton (to Yomiuri Giants) through free agency. All star shortstop Munenori Kawasaki also left the team for the Seattle Mariners. Closer Takahiro Mahara would sit out the season through injury. To compensate for these losses, the team acquired outfielder Wily Mo Peña and starter Brad Penny from the MLB, in addition to starter Kazuyuki Hoashi from Seibu Lions. However, of the 3 major signings, only Peña made regular contributions. Hoashi was injured in his first regular season start and did not rejoin the team for the rest of the season. Penny was in the downward spiral of his career and started only 1 game for the Hawks before being released.
The team had to deal with their off season losses to their pitching staff from within the organization. Settsu was elevated to the team's ace, while young pitchers such as Kenji Otonari and Hiroki Yamada were given bigger roles. Nagisa Arakaki returned from long term injury to join the rotation. However, new closer Falkenborg had to sit out most of the season through injury, eventually handing over the role to Morifuku. Arakaki could not regain his former numbers. In the end, the losses could not be mitigated. The team could only finish third in the Pacific League regular season and eventually lost out to the Nippon Ham Fighters in the P.L. Climax Series Final Stage. The bright spark of the season came from rookie starter Shota Takeda, who went 8-1 with an ERA of 1.07.
In 2014 the Hawks won the Japan Series. They won for a second consecutive season in 2015, with outfielder Yuki Yanagita winning league MVP and the batting title.[ citation needed ] The Hawks also won the 2017 Japan Series. The following year the Hawks also won the 2018 Japan series making it back to back titles for the second time in five years.
|First squad coaching staff|
|Manager||81||工藤 公康||Left||Left||2015 –|
|Bench coach||79||達川 光男||Right||Right||1995,2017 –|
|Pitching coach||94||倉野 信次||Right||Right||2009 –|
|72||若田部 健一||Right||Right||2017 –|
|98||高村 祐||Right||Right||2016 –|
|Hitting coach||94||立花 義家||Left||Left||1998–2001,2009–2012,2017 –|
|76||藤本 博史||Right||Right||2011 –|
|Infield and base|
|80||水上 善雄||Right||Right||2014 –|
|Outfield and base|
|93||村松 有人||Left||Left||2014 –|
|Battery coach||95||吉鶴 憲治||Right||Right||2017 –|
|86||森 浩之||Right||Right||2017 –|
|Second squad coaching staff|
|Manager||71||小川 一夫||Right||Right||2011–2013,2018 –|
|Pitching coaches||84||久保 康生||Right||Right||2018 –|
|91||佐久本 昌広||Left||Left||2015 –|
|Hitting coach||75||大道 典良||Right||Right||2013 –|
|78||飯田 哲也||Right||Right||2015 –|
|Infield and base|
|74||松山 秀明||Right||Right||2018 –|
|Outfield and base|
|87||井出 竜也||Right||Right||2007 –|
|Battery coach||85||的山 哲也||Right||Right||2009 –|
|Third squad coaching staff|
|Manager||88||関川 浩一||Left||Right||2016,2018 –|
|Pitching coaches||82||田之上 慶三郎||Right||Right||2008–2012,2015 –|
|99||入来 祐作||Right||Right||2015 –|
|Hitting coach||70||吉本亮||Right||Right||2018 –|
|Infield and base|
|97||笹川 隆||Right||Right||2011–2013,2017 –|
|Outfield and base|
|92||高波 文一||Right||Right||2012–2013,2017 –|
|Battery coach||96||加藤 領健||Right||Right||2018 –|
|Rehabilitation coach||73||斉藤 学||Right||Right||2001 –|
|No.||Country||Name||Japanese notation||Bats||Throws||Draft year|
|No.||Country||Name||Japanese notation||Bats||Throws||Draft year|
|Pitchers||31||Ryoya Kurihara||栗原 陵矢||Left||Right||2014|
|10||Koutaro Ohtake||大竹 耕太郎||Left||Left||2017||39||Tamon Horiuchi||堀内 汰門||Right||Right||2014|
|11||Kenichi Nakata||中田 賢一||Right||Right||2004||45||Kenta Tanigawara||谷川原 健太||Left||Right||2015|
|13||Akira Niho||二保 旭||Right||Right||2008||62||Takuya Kai||甲斐 拓也||Right||Right||2010|
|14||Ren Kajiya||加治屋 蓮||Right||Right||2013||65||Ryuhei Kuki||九鬼 隆平||Right||Right||2016|
|16||Nao Higashihama||東浜 巨||Right||Right||2012||77||Masahiro Harimoto||張本 優大||Right||Right||2013|
|17||Sho Iwasaki||岩嵜 翔||Right||Right||2007||Infielders|
|18||Shota Takeda||武田 翔太||Right||Right||2011||0||Tomoki Takata||高田 知季||Left||Right||2012|
|19||Ariel Miranda||アリエル・ミランダ||Left||Left||2017||00||Hikaru Kawase||川瀬 晃||Left||Right||2015|
|20||Hayato Terahara||寺原 隼人||Right||Right||2001||1||Seiichi Uchikawa||内川 聖一||Right||Right||2000|
|21||Tsuyoshi Wada||和田 毅||Left||Left||2002||2||Kenta Imamiya||今宮 健太||Right||Right||2009|
|25||Seigi Tanaka||田中 正義||Right||Right||2016||3||Nobuhiro Matsuda||松田 宣浩||Right||Right||2005|
|26||Haruto Yoshizumi||吉住 晴斗||Right||Right||2017||4||Keizo Kawashima||川島 慶三||Right||Right||2005|
|28||Rei Takahashi||高橋 礼||Right||Right||2017||8||Kenji Akashi||明石 健志||Left||Right||2003|
|29||Shuta Ishikawa||石川 柊太||Right||Right||2013||22||Tetsuro Nishida||西田 哲朗||Right||Right||2009|
|34||Arata Shiino||椎野 新||Right||Right||2017||27||Yurisbel Gracial||ジュリスベル・グラシアル||Right||Right||2017|
|35||Liván Moinelo||リバン・モイネロ||Left||Left||2017||33||Shū Masuda||増田 珠||Right||Right||2017|
|38||Yuito Mori||森 唯斗||Right||Right||2013||36||Taisei Makihara||牧原 大成||Left||Right||2010|
|40||Reiji Kozawa||小澤 怜史||Left||Right||2015||46||Yuichi Honda||本多 雄一||Left||Right||2005|
|41||Kodai Senga||千賀 滉大||Left||Right||2010||55||Kenta Chatani||茶谷 健太||Right||Right||2015|
|42||Ryoma Matsuda||松田 遼馬||Right||Right||2011||59||Shōgo Furusawa||古澤 勝吾||Right||Right||2014|
|44||Rick van den Hurk||リック・バンデンハーク||Right||Right||2015||61||Kenta Kurose||黒瀬 健太||Right||Right||2015|
|47||Jumpei Takahashi||高橋 純平||Right||Right||2015||68||Masaki Mimori||三森 大貴||Right||Right||2016|
|48||Ken Okamoto||岡本 健||Right||Right||2013||69||Yuki Mima||美間 優槻||Right||Right||2012|
|49||Yuto Furuya||古谷 優人||Left||Left||2016||Outfielders|
|50||Tadashi Settsu||攝津 正||Right||Right||2008||6||Yuki Yoshimura||吉村 裕基||Right||Right||2002|
|53||Ryota Igarashi||五十嵐 亮太||Right||Right||1997||7||Akira Nakamura||中村 晃||Left||Left||2007|
|56||Fumimaru Taura||田浦 文丸||Left||Left||2017||9||Yuki Yanagita||柳田 悠岐||Left||Right||2010|
|57||Shinya Kayama||嘉弥真 新也||Left||Left||2011||23||Ryuma Kidokoro||城所 龍磨||Left||Right||2003|
|58||Dennis Sarfate||デニス・サファテ||Right||Right||2011||24||Yuya Hasegawa||長谷川 勇也||Left||Right||2006|
|63||Taiga Kasahara||笠原 大芽||Right||Left||2012||32||Masayoshi Tsukada||塚田 正義||Right||Right||2011|
|66||Yuki Matsumoto||松本 裕樹||Left||Right||2014||37||Shuhei Fukuda||福田 秀平||Left||Right||2006|
|67||Shunsuke Kasaya||笠谷 俊介||Left||Left||2014||43||Tomoaki Egawa||江川 智晃||Right||Right||2004|
|90||Robert Suárez||ロベルト・スアレス||Right||Right||2016||51||Seiji Uebayashi||上林 誠知||Left||Right||2013|
|12||Hiroaki Takaya||髙谷 裕亮||Left||Right||2006||60||Gō Kamamoto||釜元 豪||Left||Right||2011|
|30||Tomoya Ichikawa||市川 友也||Right||Right||2009||64||Yūsuke Masago||真砂 勇介||Right||Right||2012|
|Developmental squad players|
|No.||Country||Name||Japanese notation||Bats||Throws||Draft year|
|No.||Country||Name||Japanese notation||Bats||Throws||Draft year|
|120||Shūto Ogata||尾形 崇斗||Left||Right||2017||132||Yūichi Higoshi||樋越 優一||Left||Right||2015|
|122||Hiroyuki Kawahara||川原 弘之||Left||Left||2009||Infielders|
|123||Yūsuke Itoh||伊藤 祐介||Left||Left||2012||121||Ukyō Shūtō||周東 佑京||Left||Right||2017|
|126||Seiya Saitoh||齋藤 誠哉||Left||Left||2014||127||Richard Sunagawa||砂川 リチャード||Right||Right||2017|
|128||Amon Yamashita||山下 亜文||Left||Left||2014||138||Kōsuke Moriyama||森山 孔介||Right||Right||2016|
|129||Yūto Nozawa||野澤 佑斗||Left||Right||2015||142||Ryūken Matsumoto||松本 龍憲||Left||Right||2016|
|130||Ryūya Kodama||児玉 龍也||Left||Left||2015||Outfielders|
|134||Hiroki Hasegawa||長谷川 宙輝||Left||Left||2016||124||Kazuhiro Kohyama||幸山 一大||Right||Right||2014|
|136||Shin Nakamura||中村 晨||Right||Right||2015||125||Shōgo Ohmoto||大本 将吾||Left||Right||2016|
|137||Takeshi Watanabe||渡辺 健史||Left||Left||2015||135||Tsubasa Tashiro||田城 飛翔||Left||Right||2016|
|140||Yuta Watanabe||渡邉 雄大||Left||Left||2017||139||Yamato Higurashi||日暮 矢麻人||Left||Left||2017|
|143||Yōsuke Shimabukuro||島袋 洋奨||Left||Left||2014||141||Rikuya Shimizu||清水 陸哉||Right||Right||2016|
Sadaharu Oh's 89 was originally planned to be retired or honored after his retirement, but Oh made clear his preference to give the number to his successor. Ultimately, however, the man who replaced him as manager of the Hawks, Akiyama, declined to wear the number on the grounds that the honor of bearing it would be too great so shortly after Oh's departure. Instead, Akiyama wore the number 81.
Hawks has the largest number of mascots in NPB, the Hawk family. The current family members since 1992 are as follows:
Nippon Professional Baseball or NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan. Locally, it is often called Puro Yakyū (プロ野球), meaning Professional Baseball. Outside Japan, it is often just referred to as "Japanese baseball". The roots of the league can be traced back to the formation of the "Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club" in Tokyo, founded 1934 and the original circuit for the sport in the Empire two years later - Japanese Baseball League (1936-1949), and surprisingly even continued to play through the dark years of total warfare with Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and intervening in the Chinese Civil War in 1937 with the wider Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), and into the greater World War II (1939-1945).
The Yomiuri Giants are a professional baseball team based in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The team competes in the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball. They play their home games in the Tokyo Dome, opened in 1988. The team's owner is the Yomiuri Group, a media conglomerate which includes two newspapers and a television network.
Sadaharu Oh, also known as Wang Chen-chih, is a retired Japanese-born Chinese baseball player and manager who played 22 seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) from 1959 to 1980. Oh holds the world lifetime home run record, having hit 868 home runs during his professional career. He established many NPB batting records, including runs batted in (RBIs) (2,170), slugging percentage (.634), bases on balls (2,390), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.080). In 1977, Sadaharu Oh became the first recipient of the People's Honour Award. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Kenji Johjima is a Japanese former professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for four years with the Seattle Mariners in the American League, then returned to Japan and played for the Hanshin Tigers.
Nobuhiko Matsunaka is a former left fielder and designated hitter for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Koji Akiyama is a retired Japanese professional baseball player. He played for the Seibu Lions and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
Toshiya Sugiuchi is a Japanese baseball player. He is a left-handed starting pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants.
Hiromichi Ishige is a retired Japanese professional baseball player and manager in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. He played most of his career for the Seibu Lions.
Kōichi Tabuchi is a Japanese former professional baseball player, manager, and commentator. During his career, Tabuchi played for the Hanshin Tigers and the Seibu Lions. Tabuchi played catcher for the Hanshin Tigers from 1969 and 1978, where his combination with pitcher Yutaka Enatsu was called the "Golden Battery".
The 2000 Japan Series matched the Central League champion Yomiuri Giants against the Pacific League champion and defending Japan Series champion Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. The press called it the ON series because of the managers on both sides: Sadaharu Oh for the Hawks and Shigeo Nagashima for the Giants. The two were teammates in the 1960s and 1970s, and their combined hitting prowess gave them the nickname, "O-N Cannon."
The 2009 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks season featured the Hawks quest to win their first Pacific League title since 2003. For the first time since 1994, the Hawks had a new manager in Koji Akiyama, who replaced the legendary Sadaharu Oh.
The 2003 Japan Series was the 54th edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's postseason championship series. It matched the Pacific League champion Fukuoka Daiei Hawks against the Central League champion Hanshin Tigers. The home team won every game in the series, and three games ended with sayonara victories, including back-to-back games with the Tigers at home in Koshien Stadium. In the end, the Hawks would prevail in the seventh game at the Fukuoka Dome.
The 1999 Japan Series was the 50th edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's postseason championship series. It matched the champion teams of the Pacific and Central Leagues. The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks represented the Pacific League, while the Chunichi Dragons represented the Central League. The Hawks won the series in five games, giving them their first Japan Series title since 1964.
Kimiyasu Kudo is a Japanese former professional baseball pitcher and the current manager of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball. During his career, he recorded 224 career wins. Among other records, he was the oldest pitcher in NPB history to strike out 10 batters in a game, doing so at the age of 41 years and 11 months. However, despite all his accolades, he never won the Sawamura Award, given to Japan's top pitcher.
Hiroki Yamada is a Japanese left-handed pitcher who plays for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Nippon Professional Baseball.
The 2011 Nippon Professional Baseball season is the 62nd season since the NPB was reorganized in 1950. The season was delayed by the Tohoku earthquake. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, based in northern Japan, and coached by Senichi Hoshino, were particularly affected by the quake, as the Miyagi Baseball Stadium was badly damaged.
The 2015 Japan Series was the 66th edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's postseason championship series. The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, champions of the Pacific League, played the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, champions of the Central League. The Hawks were the defending Japan Series champions, having beaten the Hanshin Tigers in 2014. The series was sponsored by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and was officially known as the 2015 SMBC Nippon Series.