Tokyo Big6 Baseball League

Last updated
Tokyo Big6 Baseball League
Tokyo Big 6.png
Sport Baseball
First season 1914
CommissionerAkio Kaneko
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Region Kantō, Japan
Most recent
champion(s)
Keio University
(40th title)
Most titles Hosei University
Waseda University
(46 titles)
TV partner(s)Sports Bull, Abema, NHK
Official website Big6.gr.jp
Locations
Map of states with Tokyo Big Six Baseball League schools.png

The Tokyo Big6 Baseball League (東京六大学野球連盟, Tōkyō roku daigaku yakyū renmei) [lower-alpha 1] is an intercollegiate baseball conference that features six prominent universities in the Tokyo area. It is the oldest collegiate baseball conference in Japan. Before the 1936 establishment of the Japanese Baseball League and subsequent growth (after 1950) of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Big6 League was widely considered the highest level of baseball in Japan.

Contents

All games are played at Meiji Jingu Stadium in Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku in downtown Tokyo. Games are known to be rowdy and celebratory, with cheerleading squads (応援団, Ōendan) and bands working themselves and the crowd into a frenzy.

It is also the origin of the Tokyo 6 Universities (東京六大学, Tōkyō roku daigaku) nickname that is given to the same six universities.

History

The league has its origins in the Waseda, Keio, and Meiji University League, a three-school conference that began play in 1914 (albeit irregularly). Waseda and Keio had held their first match in 1903. Hosei University joined the league as a guest in 1916 and officially in 1917; the "Four Universities League" expanded to admit Rikkyo in 1921 (becoming the "Five Universities League") and Tokyo in 1925. That year, the suspended Waseda-Keio series was revived for the first time in 19 years, leading to the foundation of the Six Universities League. [1]

In 1926, with the cooperation of the federation, the Meiji Jingu Stadium was completed, and was later expanded to a capacity of 55,000 people in 1931. The Regents Cup was awarded for the fall league match. The league was suspended in 1943 due to World War II, but immediately after the end of the war, on October 28, 1945, a six-college alumni game was held, culminating in a game between Waseda and Keio University at Meiji Jingu on November 18. [1]

Since the end of the US occupation of Japan in 1952, there have been no interruptions in conference play. [1]

On April 1, 2013, the league registered as a general incorporated foundation, the Tokyo Six Universities Baseball Federation. [1]

According to the league's website, 119 players and executives associated with Tokyo Big6 have been inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. [1]

Schedule and rules

The six teams play short, eight-weekend seasons in the spring and autumn of each year. Each team plays a short series against each of the five other teams in the league. The series format is similar to a three-game playoff, where the first to two wins is given a series victory. Home field is alternated, and all games are played at Meiji Jingu Stadium. Should a team sweep the first two games, the third game is not played.

The champion of the league is determined by the team with the most series victories. The champion team is given the Emperor's Cup. This is unique in Japan in that the other Emperor's cups are given to national champions in other sports such as Emperor's Cup of Football. The spring champion is allowed to participate in the All Japan University Baseball Championship Series while the fall champion is allowed to compete in the Meiji Jingu Stadium Tournament.

The league uses rules that are similar to that of Nippon Professional Baseball's Central League (and, until recently, the MLB National League): the designated hitter rule is not used, and the pitcher is required to bat. Also, unlike American college baseball, non-wood bats are banned.

Members

InstitutionLocationFoundedJoinedAll-time
record
TitlesLast
title
TypeColors
Hosei University Chiyoda, Tokyo 191519171234–912–13246Spring
2020
Private   
Keio University Minato, Tokyo 189219141271–884–10540Autumn
2023
Private   
Meiji University Fuchū, Tokyo 191019141302–867–11743Spring
2023
Private   
Rikkyo University Toshima, Tokyo 18741921972–1180–10813Spring
2017
Private   
University of Tokyo Bunkyo, Tokyo 19171925257–1728–63 Public   
Waseda University Shinjuku, Tokyo 190119141339–804–9746Autumn
2020
Private   

Current as of Autumn 2023 [2] [3]

Champions

Waseda University victory parade after their 2010 Big6 League victory Big6 league waseda victory parade team 2010-11-03.JPG
Waseda University victory parade after their 2010 Big6 League victory

Hosei University and Waseda University are tied for the most league championships with 46 each. Meiji University has won 43 times and Keio University has captured 40 league titles. Rikkyo trails with 13, while the University of Tokyo has yet to win a championship.

UniversityNumber of championships
Hosei46
Waseda46
Meiji43
Keio40
Rikkyo13
Tokyo0

Current as of Autumn 2023

Rivalry

Waseda vs. Keio: Sōkeisen

The series between Waseda and Keio, Sōkeisen (早慶戦 [4] ), attracts the most attention and is greatly enjoyed by the students, not least because it causes classes at both universities to be canceled. [5] The game is still broadcast on NHK and it is the only series played during the last week of the season. [6]

The Sōkeisen actually predates the establishment of the Tokyo Big6 League by over 20 years, beginning in 1903. The games often caused much tension between the two student bodies, often spilling out of the stadium and leading to the cancellation of games.

The addition of Meiji (1914), Hosei (1917) and Rikkyo [7] (1921) would do little to remedy the rivalry. This state would continue until the addition of Tokyo Imperial University and the official establishment of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League.

The name is a combination of the two university's names first kanji characters and the character for battle or match, sen (). , is the alternate reading of Wa () in Waseda (早稲田) (also from the short name, Sōdai (早大)), while Kei () is the first character of Keio (慶応).

Notable alumni

Hosei alumni

Keio alumni

Meiji alumni

Rikkyo alumni

Tokyo alumni

Waseda alumni


Notes

  1. lit. Tokyo Six Universities Baseball Federation

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "一般財団法人 東京六大学野球連盟". Big6.gr.jp (in Japanese). Tokyo Six Universities Baseball Federation. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  2. "一般財団法人 東京六大学野球連盟".
  3. "一般財団法人 東京六大学野球連盟".
  4. It is often reversed, 慶早戦, Keisōsen, by the student body at Keio University.
  5. A victory no longer guarantees the cancellation of classes at Waseda University.
  6. http://www.japannewsreview.com/sports/20070603page_id=51
  7. Though the university officially uses the name Rikkyo University, Rikkyo remains on the team's jerseys. This article uses Rikkyo accordingly.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 東京六大学野球の面白さ
  9. The Yakult Swallows Home Plate