|No. of teams||6|
|Seibu Lions (23rd)|
|Most titles||Seibu Lions (23)|
The Pacific League (パシフィック・リーグ, Pashifikku Rīgu) or Pa League (パ・リーグ, Pa Rīgu) 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.
The circuit was founded as the Taiheiyo Baseball Union in 1949 (the name changing to its current form in 1980). Daiei Stars owner Masaichi Nagata was the first president of the Pacific League.
The league began with seven teams: four holdovers from the previous iteration, the Japanese Baseball League — the Hankyu Braves, the Nankai Hawks, the Daiei Stars, and the Tokyu Flyers — and three new teams — the Kintetsu Pearls, the Mainichi Orions, and the Nishitetsu Clippers.
In 1954, an eighth Pacific League team was founded, the Takahashi Unions, to increase the number of teams to eight. Although the team was stocked with players from the other Pacific League teams, the Unions struggled from the outset and finished in the second division every season. In 1957, the Unions were merged with the Daiei Stars to form the Daiei Unions (and again bringing the number of Pacific League teams down to seven). In their first season, the Unions finished in last place, 43-1/2 games out of first. In 1958, the Unions merged with the Mainichi Orions to form the Daimai Orions. This enabled the Pacific League to shrink from the ungainly seven-team arrangement to six teams.
Fujio Nakazawa, a former player and television commentator, became the PL's first full-time president in 1959, serving through 1965.
From 1973 to 1982, the Pacific League employed a split season, with the first-half winner playing against the second-half winner in a mini-playoff to determine its champion.
Beginning in 1975, the Pacific League began using the designated hitter (DH), as in the American League in Major League Baseball. During interleague play (adopted in 2005), the DH is used in Pacific League teams' home games.
After the 2004 season, the Orix BlueWave and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes merged to form the Orix Buffaloes. A franchise was granted to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to fill the void caused by the merger.
Also since 2004, a three-team playoff system was introduced in the Pacific League (Pacific League Championship Series). The teams with the second- and third-best records play in the three-game first stage, with the winner advancing to the five-game final against the top team. The winner becomes the representative of the Pacific League to the Japan Series.
Since the Pacific League won every Japan Series after introducing this system, an identical system was introduced to the Central League in 2007, and the post-season intra-league games were renamed the "Climax Series" in both leagues. Player statistics and drafting order based on team records are not affected by these postseason games.
|Chiba Lotte Marines||千葉ロッテマリーンズ|
Chiba Rotte Marīnzu
|Chiba, Chiba||ZOZO Marine Stadium||Lotte|
|Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||福岡ソフトバンクホークス|
Fukuoka Sofutobanku Hōkusu
|Fukuoka, Fukuoka||Fukuoka PayPay Dome||SoftBank|
|Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||北海道日本ハムファイターズ|
Hokkaidō Nippon-Hamu Faitāzu
|Sapporo, Hokkaidō||Sapporo Dome||Nippon Ham|
|Osaka, Osaka||Kyocera Dome Osaka||ORIX|
|Saitama Seibu Lions||埼玉西武ライオンズ|
Saitama Seibu Raionzu
|Tokorozawa, Saitama||MetLife Dome||Seibu Railway|
|Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルス|
Tōhoku Rakuten Gōruden Īgurusu
|Sendai, Miyagi||Kobo Park Miyagi||Rakuten|
*From 2004 to 2006 the winner of the play-offs was considered Pacific League Champion, afterwards the regular season champion again.
From 2004 to 2006 the play-off series was not called Climax Series yet.
|Saitama Seibu Lions||23||12||13|
|Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks||18||16||7|
|Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters||7||8||15|
|Chiba Lotte Marines||5||7||14|
|Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes||4||9||8|
|Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles||1||1||2|
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 in 1934, and the original circuit for the sport in the Empire two years later – Japanese Baseball League (1936–1949), and continued to play even through the final years of World War II.
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are a Japanese professional baseball team based in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture. They compete in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) as a member of the Pacific League.
The Japan Series, also the Nippon Series, is the annual championship series in Nippon Professional Baseball, the top baseball league in Japan. It is a best-of-seven series between the winning clubs of the league's two circuits, the Central League and the Pacific League, and is played in October or November. The first team to win four games is the overall winner and is declared the Japan Series Champion each year. The winner of the Japan Series also goes on to be the Japanese representative team in the annual Asia Series. The Japan Series uses a 2-3-2 format.
The Orix Buffaloes are a Nippon Professional Baseball team formed as a result of the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball realignment by the merger of the Orix BlueWave of Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The team plays in the Pacific League and is under ownership by the Orix Group, a leading diversified financial services company based in Tokyo.
The Black Mist Scandal refers to a series of game fixing scandals in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league between 1969 and 1971. The fallout from these scandals resulted in several star players receiving long suspensions, salary cuts, or being banned from professional play entirely. The scandals led many fans in Japan to abandon the sport, and also to the sale of such illustrious teams as the Nishitetsu Lions and Toei Flyers.
Julio Ernesto Zuleta Tapia is a former professional baseball player. He played parts of two seasons in Major League Baseball, from 2000 to 2001, for the Chicago Cubs, and six seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball from 2003 to 2008, primarily as a first baseman.
Tokyo Big6 Baseball League is an intercollegiate baseball league that features six prominent universities in the Tokyo area. Before the 1936 establishment of the Japanese Baseball League and subsequent growth of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Big6 League was widely considered the highest level of baseball in Japan.
The Eastern League (イースタン・リーグ) is one of the two minor leagues ("ni-gun") of Japanese professional baseball. The league is owned and managed by the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Teams in the Eastern League generally play an 80-game schedule every year.
The Western League (ウエスタン・リーグ) is one of the two minor leagues ("ni-gun") of Japanese professional baseball. The league is owned and managed by the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Teams in the Western League generally play an 80-game schedule every year.
Tohto University Baseball League is an intercollegiate baseball league that features 21 prominent universities in the Tokyo area.
Brian Thomas Wolfe is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and Saitama Seibu Lions.
Heiwadai Stadium was a ballpark located in the Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture. It was the home ballpark of the Nishitetsu Lions, a team in Nippon Professional Baseball's (NPB) Pacific League, from 1950 to 1978. It also briefly served as home stadium for NPB teams the Nishi Nippon Pirates in 1950 and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks from 1989 to 1992. The stadium hosted 1,904 official NPB games in its almost 58-year history.
In 2006 the Nippon Professional Baseball season ended with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Pacific League defeating the Chunichi Dragons of the Central League in the Japan Series.
The 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball season ended with the Seibu Lions defeating the Chunichi Dragons in the 2004 Japan Series. This season also saw the first and only players strike in Japanese professional baseball history. Players went on strike for two days in September because of the potential mergers and realignment.
Kenji Akashi is a Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball Infielder for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball.
The 1952 Nippon Professional Baseball season was the third season of operation of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
American expatriate baseball players in Japan have been a feature of the Japanese professional leagues since 1934. American expatriate players began to steadily find spots on Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) rosters in the 1960s. More than 600 Americans have played NPB, although very few last more than a single season in Japan.