The Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award(最優秀選手Saiyūshūsenshu) is an honor given annually in baseball to two outstanding players in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), one each for the Central League and Pacific League.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.
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 Central League or Ce League is one of the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country. Unlike the Pacific League, designated hitters are not used during Central League home games.
Each league's award is voted on by national baseball writers.Each voter places a vote for first, second, and third place among the players of each league. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. [A] The player with the highest score in each league wins the award.
In science, a formula is a concise way of expressing information symbolically, as in a mathematical formula or a chemical formula. The informal use of the term formula in science refers to the general construct of a relationship between given quantities.
The first recipient of the award was Eiji Sawamura,and the most recent winners are Alex Ramírez, from the Central League, and Yu Darvish, from the Pacific League. In 1940, Victor Starffin became the first player to win the award consecutively and multiple times. Eiji Sawamura and Kazuhisa Inao are the youngest players to receive the awards in 1937 and 1957, respectively, at the ages of 20. In 1988, Hiromitsu Kadota became the oldest player to receive the award at the age of 40.
Eiji Sawamura was a Japanese professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher, he played in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.
Alexander Ramón Ramírez Quiñónez is a Japanese former professional baseball outfielder who had a long career in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He is the first foreign-born player to record 2,000 hits while playing in NPB. Before playing in Japan, he played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians (1998–2000) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2000). He batted and threw right-handed.
Yu Darvish is a Japanese professional baseball starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball. Darvish previously played in MLB for the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers and in Nippon Professional Baseball for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. In international play, Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of the Japanese national team.
The most recent winners of the award are Yoshihiro Maru of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Hotaka Yamakawa of the Saitama Seibu Lions.
Yoshihiro Maru is a Japanese professional baseball outfielder for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball(NPB). He previously played for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
The Hiroshima Toyo Carp are a professional baseball team based in Hiroshima, Japan. They compete in the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball. The team is primarily owned by the Matsuda family, led by Hajime Matsuda, who is a descendant of Mazda founder Jujiro Matsuda. Mazda is the largest single shareholder (34.2%), which is less than the portion owned by the Matsuda family. Because of that, Mazda is not considered as the owner firm. However, the company connection is highlighted in the club name—until 1984, Mazda's official name was Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd..
Hotaka Yamakawa is a Japanese professional baseball infielder for the Saitama Seibu Lions in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.
| Position |
|RBIs||Runs batted in|
|Pitchers||Record||Record of decisions (tie games are omitted)|
|Saves||Number of saves [B]|
|ERA||Earned run average|
|(#)||Indicates number of times winning MVP Award (if multiple winner)|
|*||Elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Eiji Sawamura *||Tokyo Kyojin||Pitcher|
|Harris McGalliard||Korakuen Eagles||Catcher|
|Hisanori Karita *||Tokyo Senators||Second baseman|
|Haruyasu Nakajima *||Tokyo Kyojin||Outfielder|
|1939||Victor Starffin *||Tokyo Kyojin||Pitcher|
|1940||Victor Starffin * (2)||Tokyo Kyojin||Pitcher|
|1941||Tetsuharu Kawakami *||Tokyo Kyojin||First baseman|
|1942||Shigeru Mizuhara *||Tokyo Kyojin||Third baseman|
|1943||Shosei Go *||Tokyo Kyojin||Outfielder|
|1944||Tadashi Wakabayashi *||Hanshin||Pitcher|
|1946||Kazuto Yamamoto *||Great Ring||First baseman|
|1947||Tadashi Wakabayashi * (2)||Osaka Tigers||Pitcher|
|1948||Kazuto Yamamoto * (2)||Nankai Hawks||Third baseman|
|1949||Fumio Fujimura *||Osaka Tigers||Third baseman|
|1950||Makoto Kozuru *||Shochiku Robins||Outfielder|
|1951||Tetsuharu Kawakami * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1952||Takehiko Bessho *||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1953||Takumi Otomo||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1954||Shigeru Sugishita *||Chunichi Dragons||Pitcher|
|1955||Tetsuharu Kawakami * (3)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1956||Takehiko Bessho * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1957||Wally Yonamine *||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|1958||Motoshi Fujita *||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1959||Motoshi Fujita * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1960||Noboru Akiyama *||Taiyo Whales||Pitcher|
|1961||Shigeo Nagashima *||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1962||Minoru Murayama *||Osaka Tigers||Pitcher|
|1963||Shigeo Nagashima * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1964||Sadaharu Oh *||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1965||Sadaharu Oh * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1966||Shigeo Nagashima * (3)||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1967||Sadaharu Oh * (3)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1968||Shigeo Nagashima * (4)||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1969||Sadaharu Oh * (4)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1970||Sadaharu Oh * (5)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1971||Shigeo Nagashima* (5)||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1972||Tsuneo Horiuchi *||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1973||Sadaharu Oh * (6)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1974||Sadaharu Oh * (7)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1975||Koji Yamamoto *||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Outfielder|
|1976||Sadaharu Oh * (8)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1977||Sadaharu Oh * (9)||Yomiuri Giants||First baseman|
|1978||Tsutomu Wakamatsu *||Yakult Swallows||Outfielder|
|1979||Yutaka Enatsu||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Relief pitcher|
|1980||Koji Yamamoto * (2)||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Outfielder|
|1981||Suguru Egawa||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1982||Takayoshi Nakao||Chunichi Dragons||Catcher|
|1983||Tatsunori Hara||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|1984||Sachio Kinugasa *||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Third baseman|
|1985||Randy Bass||Hanshin Tigers||First baseman|
|1986||Manabu Kitabeppu *||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Starting pitcher|
|1987||Kazuhiro Yamakura||Yomiuri Giants||Catcher|
|1988||Genji Kaku||Chunichi Dragons||Relief pitcher|
|1989||Warren Cromartie||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|1990||Masaki Saito *||Yomiuri Giants||Starting pitcher|
|1991||Shinji Sasaoka||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Pitcher|
|1992||Jack Howell||Yakult Swallows||Third baseman|
|1993||Atsuya Furuta *||Yakult Swallows||Catcher|
|1994||Masumi Kuwata||Yomiuri Giants||Pitcher|
|1995||Tom O'Malley||Yakult Swallows||First baseman|
|1996||Hideki Matsui *||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|1997||Atsuya Furuta * (2)||Yakult Swallows||Catcher|
|1998||Kazuhiro Sasaki *||Yokohama BayStars||Relief pitcher|
|1999||Shigeki Noguchi||Chunichi Dragons||Starting pitcher|
|2000||Hideki Matsui * (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|2001||Roberto Petagine||Yakult Swallows||First baseman|
|2002||Hideki Matsui * (3)||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|2003||Kei Igawa||Hanshin Tigers||Starting pitcher|
|2004||Kenshin Kawakami||Chunichi Dragons||Starting pitcher|
|2005||Tomoaki Kanemoto||Hanshin Tigers||Outfielder|
|2006||Kosuke Fukudome||Chunichi Dragons||Outfielder|
|2007||Michihiro Ogasawara (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Third baseman|
|2008||Alex Ramírez||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|2009||Alex Ramírez (2)||Yomiuri Giants||Outfielder|
|2010||Kazuhiro Wada||Chunichi Dragons||Outfielder|
|2011||Takuya Asao||Chunichi Dragons||Relief pitcher|
|2012||Shinnosuke Abe||Yomiuri Giants||Catcher|
|2013||Wladimir Balentien||Tokyo Yakult Swallows||Outfielder|
|2014||Tomoyuki Sugano||Yomiuri Giants||Starting pitcher|
|2015||Tetsuto Yamada||Tokyo Yakult Swallows||Second baseman|
|2016||Takahiro Arai||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||First baseman|
|2017||Yoshihiro Maru||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Outfielder|
|2018||Yoshihiro Maru||Hiroshima Toyo Carp||Outfielder|
|1950||Kaoru Betto *||Mainichi Orions||Outfielder|
|1951||Kazuto Yamamoto * (3)||Nankai Hawks||Second baseman|
|1952||Susumu Yuki||Nankai Hawks||Pitcher|
|1953||Isami Okamoto||Nankai Hawks||Second baseman|
|1954||Hiroshi Oshita *||Nishitetsu Lions||Outfielder|
|1955||Tokuji Iida *||Nankai Hawks||Outfielder|
|1956||Futoshi Nakanishi *||Nishitetsu Lions||Third baseman|
|1957||Kazuhisa Inao *||Nishitetsu Lions||Pitcher|
|1958||Kazuhisa Inao * (2)||Nishitetsu Lions||Pitcher|
|1959||Tadashi Sugiura *||Nankai Hawks||Pitcher|
|1960||Kazuhiro Yamauchi *||Mainichi Daimai Orions||OF||103||.313||—||—||—|
|1961||Katsuya Nomura *||Nankai Hawks||C||89||.296||—||—||—|
|1962||Isao Harimoto *||Toei Flyers||OF||99||.333||—||—||—|
|1963||Katsuya Nomura * (2)||Nankai Hawks||C||135||.291||—||—||—|
|1964||Joe Stanka||Nankai Hawks||P||—||—||26–7||—||2.40|
|1965||Katsuya Nomura * (3)||Nankai Hawks||C||110||.320||—||—||—|
|1966||Katsuya Nomura * (4)||Nankai Hawks||C||97||.312||—||—||—|
|1967||Mitsuhiro Adachi||Hankyu Braves||P||—||—||20–10||—||1.75|
|1968||Tetsuya Yoneda *||Hankyu Braves||P||—||—||29–13||—||2.79|
|1969||Tokuji Nagaike||Hankyu Braves||OF||101||.316||—||—||—|
|1970||Masaaki Kitaru||Lotte Orions||P||—||—||21–10||—||2.53|
|1971||Tokuji Nagaike (2)||Hankyu Braves||OF||114||.317||—||—||—|
|1972||Yutaka Fukumoto *||Hankyu Braves||OF||40||.301||—||—||—|
|1973||Katsuya Nomura * (5)||Nankai Hawks||C||96||.309||—||—||—|
|1974||Tomehiro Kaneda||Lotte Orions||P||—||—||16–7||0||2.90|
|1975||Hideji Kato||Hankyu Braves||1B||97||.309||—||—||—|
|1976||Hisashi Yamada *||Hankyu Braves||P||—||—||26–7||5||2.39|
|1977||Hisashi Yamada * (2)||Hankyu Braves||P||—||—||16–10||7||2.28|
|1978||Hisashi Yamada * (3)||Hankyu Braves||P||—||—||18–4||4||2.66|
|1979||Charlie Manuel||Kintetsu Buffaloes||OF||94||.324||—||—||—|
|1980||Isamu Kida||Nippon-Ham Fighters||P||—||—||22–8||4||2.28|
|1981||Yutaka Enatsu (2)||Nippon-Ham Fighters||P||—||—||3–6||25||2.82|
|1982||Hiromitsu Ochiai *||Lotte Orions||2B||99||.325||—||—||—|
|1983||Osamu Higashio *||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||18–9||2||2.92|
|1984||Greg Wells||Hankyu Braves||1B||130||.355||—||—||—|
|1985||Hiromitsu Ochiai * (2)||Lotte Orions||3B||146||.367||—||—||—|
|1986||Hiromichi Ishige||Seibu Lions||SS||89||.329||—||—||—|
|1987||Osamu Higashio * (2)||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||15–9||0||2.59|
|1988||Hiromitsu Kadota *||Nankai Hawks||OF||125||.311||—||—||—|
|1989||Ralph Bryant||Kintetsu Buffaloes||OF||121||.283||—||—||—|
|1990||Hideo Nomo *||Kintetsu Buffaloes||P||—||—||18–8||0||2.91|
|1991||Taigen Kaku||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||15–6||1||2.59|
|1992||Takehiro Ishii||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||15–3||3||1.94|
|1993||Kimiyasu Kudoh *||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||15–3||0||2.06|
|1994||Ichiro Suzuki||Orix BlueWave||OF||54||.385||—||—||—|
|1995||Ichiro Suzuki (2)||Orix BlueWave||OF||80||.342||—||—||—|
|1996||Ichiro Suzuki (3)||Orix BlueWave||OF||84||.356||—||—||—|
|1997||Fumiya Nishiguchi||Seibu Lions||P||—||—||15–5||1||3.12|
|1998||Kazuo Matsui||Seibu Lions||SS||58||.311||—||—||—|
|1999||Kimiyasu Kudoh * (2)||Fukuoka Daiei Hawks||P||—||—||11–7||0||2.38|
|2000||Nobuhiko Matsunaka||Fukuoka Daiei Hawks||1B||106||.312||—||—||—|
|2001||Tuffy Rhodes||Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes||OF||131||.327||—||—||—|
|2002||Alex Cabrera||Seibu Lions||1B||115||.336||—||—||—|
|2003||Kenji Johjima||Fukuoka Daiei Hawks||C||119||.330||—||—||—|
|2004||Nobuhiko Matsunaka (2)||Fukuoka Daiei Hawks||1B||120||.358||—||—||—|
|2005||Toshiya Sugiuchi||Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||P||—||—||18–4||0||2.11|
|2006||Michihiro Ogasawara||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||1B||100||.312||—||—||—|
|2007||Yu Darvish||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||P||—||—||15–5||0||1.82|
|2008||Hisashi Iwakuma||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||P||—||—||21–4||0||1.87|
|2009||Yu Darvish (2)||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||P||—||—||15–5||0||1.73|
|2010||Tsuyoshi Wada||Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||P||—||—||17–8||0||3.14|
|2011||Seiichi Uchikawa||Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||1B||145||.338||—||—||—|
|2012||Mitsuo Yoshikawa||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||P||—||—||14–5||0||1.71|
|2013||Masahiro Tanaka||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||P||—||—||24–0||1||1.27|
|2014||Chihiro Kaneko||Orix Buffaloes||P||—||—||16–5||0||1.98|
|2015||Yuki Yanagita||Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||OF||—||.363||34 home runs||32 stolen bases|
|2016||Shohei Otani||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||P/DH||—||.322||10–4||0||1.86|
|2017||Dennis Sarfate||Fukuoka Softbank Hawks||P||-||-||2–2||54||1.09|
|2018||Hotaka Yamakawa||Seibu Lions||1B||152||.281||—||—||—|
There have been 22 players who have won the award multiple times. Sadaharu Oh currently holds the record for the most awards won, with nine. Hisashi Yamada (1976–1978) and Ichiro Suzuki (1994–1996) share the record for the most consecutive awards won. Yutaka Enatsu and Michihiro Ogasawara are the only players to have won the award in both the Central League and Pacific League. Alex Ramírez is the only non-Japanese player receive the award multiple times after the formation of two league system.
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.
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Ichiro Suzuki, often referred to mononymously as Ichiro, is a Japanese former professional baseball outfielder who played 28 seasons combined in top-level professional leagues. He spent the bulk of his career with two teams: nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan, where he began his career, and 14 with the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States. After playing the first 12 years of his MLB career for the Mariners, Ichiro played two and a half seasons with the New York Yankees before signing with the Miami Marlins. Ichiro played three seasons with the Marlins before returning to the Mariners in 2018. Ichiro established a number of batting records, including MLB's single-season record for hits with 262. He achieved 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak by any player in history. Between his major league career in both Japan and the United States, Ichiro has the most hits by any player in top-tier professional leagues. He also has recorded the most hits of all Japanese-born players in MLB history.
|Player||League||# of Awards||Seasons|
|Sadaharu Oh *||Central||9||1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977|
|Shigeo Nagashima *||Central||5||1961, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1971|
|Katsuya Nomura *||Pacific||5||1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1973|
|Kazuto Yamamoto *||JBL/Pacific [D]||3||1946, 1948, 1951|
|Tetsuharu Kawakami *||JBL/Central [E]||3||1941, 1951, 1955|
|Hisashi Yamada *||Pacific||3||1976, 1977, 1978|
|Ichiro Suzuki||Pacific||3||1994, 1995, 1996|
|Hideki Matsui||Central||3||1996, 2000, 2002|
|Victor Starffin *||JBL||2||1939, 1940|
|Tadashi Wakabayashi *||JBL||2||1944, 1947|
|Takehiko Bessho *||Central||2||1952, 1956|
|Kazuhisa Inao *||Pacific||2||1957, 1958|
|Motoshi Fujita *||Central||2||1958, 1959|
|Tokuji Nagaike||Pacific||2||1969, 1971|
|Koji Yamamoto *||Central||2||1975, 1980|
|Yutaka Enatsu||Both||2||1979, 1981|
|Hiromitsu Ochiai||Pacific||2||1982, 1985|
|Osamu Higashio||Pacific||2||1983, 1987|
|Atsuya Furuta||Central||2||1993, 1997|
|Kimiyasu Kudoh||Pacific||2||1993, 1999|
|Nobuhiko Matsunaka||Pacific||2||2000, 2004|
|Michihiro Ogasawara||Both||2||2006, 2007|
|Yu Darvish||Pacific||2||2007, 2009|
|Alex Ramírez||Central||2||2008, 2009|
|Yoshihiro Maru||Central||2||2017, 2018|
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