Hanshin Tigers Fan Page
by Chris Hope.
A fan page from an American Torakichi
    The best way to follow Japanese baseball is to pick a team to root for and follow their fortunes.   Because I'm a Detroit Tigers fan, it seemed natural to pick the Hanshin Tigers as my Japanese team to follow.


      Japanese Standings        Tigers Official Site      Tigers, General Info.
      Tigers History        The Tigers Ballpark
       (Koshien Stadium)
      Tigers Pennants
      Tigers in the Japan Series       Tigers Star Players      Japanese Baseball History
      Other Japanese Baseball 
      Related Sites
      Some of my other 
       baseball Sites
     Hanshin Tigers Fan Pages
Other Baseball Links


Tigers General Information

       The Hanshin Tigers are located in  Nishinomiya, near Osaka.  The team was established in 1935, and plays in the Central League which was formed in 1950 when Japan went to a two league system.   The team is owned by the Hanshin Railway, and is referred to as the Hanshin Tigers for that reason.   (I'm sure glad we don't do it that way in the States, otherwise the Detroit Tigers would be known as the Little Caesar's Pizza Tigers)
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Tigers History
      The team was established in 1935.  In 1936 the Japan Professional League was formed with six teams, including the Tigers.  In 1950 a two league system was created, with the Tigers being in the Central League.
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Koshien Stadium
        Koshien Stadium was begun in 1922 and completed in 1924.  It is the oldest ballpark in Japan.  It was originally built for the high school baseball tournaments, and is still used for that purpose.
        It seats 55,000 has real grass (most Japanese stadiums have astro turf), dirt infield, and ivy covered walls.  A classic ballpark.  It also has posts which obstruct fan's views.
        In 1934 75,000 people packed the stadium to see Babe Ruth and other MLB all-stars touring Japan.
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Tiger Pennants
     Though the tigers are the second winningest team in the central league
(behind the Tokyo Kyojin -the Giants) they have only managed to win the pennant 3 times; 1962, 1964, and 1985.   This is counting from the beginning of the two league system in 1950.  In the old one league system the Tigers won in '36, '37, '38, '44, and '47.
        In the '62 Season the Tigers had a winning pct of .577   They beat out the Taiyo Whales by 4 games.   Strong pitching was key, and the bullpen had a combined ERA of 2.03 In the Japan Series the Tigers met the Toei Flyers, who had played .600 in the Pacific League.   The Tigers won games one and two, and tied in the third, only to loose four straight to the Flyers.
        In 1964 The Tigers again beat out the Whales, by 1 game, playing .588
Hoping for a Series victory, the Tigers met the Nankai Hawks, who had played .571 ball in the Pacific League.  The Series went seven games, with the Hawks getting the edge.  It would be more than 20 years before the Tigers had a chance to play for the Japan Series again.
        In 1985 the Tigers won the Central League Pennant beating out the Hiroshima Toyo Carp by 7 games, and playing .602 ball.   They had to face the tough Seibu Lions who had played .637 ball, and had beaten the Lotte Orions by 15 games.    In six games the Tigers managed their first Japan Series victory!back to menu

Tigers in the Japan Series
        The Tigers have only won the Japan Series (Japan's version of the World Series) one time, in 1985.  The Tigers had only played in the series twice before, in '62 and '64.  The Seibu Lions were the Pacific League champs, with an impressive .637 season compared to the Tigers .602
Even so, the Tigers took it in six to win their first -and so far, only - Japan Series Victory.
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Tigers Star Players
       American baseball fans will be familiar with Cecil Fielder.  He
        played one season for Hanshin, hit .302, with 38 homers, and 81
        RBIs.   Then he went to play with the Detroit Tigers.

            Randy Bass played 6 years with the Tigers, and helped them to their
        only Japan Series championship in '85   In his Japanese career he
        batted .337 with 202 homers and 486 RBIs.    In that '85 season he
        was chasing 55, Saduhara Oh's single season home run record.  He
        finished the season one homer short because the Giants pitchers would
        not throw him anything in the strike zone.   (Japanese players may have
          had their reasons for not throwing to Bass, but American fans regard such actions as
          the antithesis of sportsmanship)  He did win the triple crown, hitting .350,
        knocking in 134 RBIs, and belting 54 home runs.  The  next season
        Bass set the single season batting record with a .389 avg.

            Gene Bacque was a AAA Hawaii Islander trying to make the big
        leagues.   He joined Hanshin in '62, and in '64 he helped fill the void
        left when Koyama went to the Flyers.  He won the Sawamura award
        with a 1.89 ERA, the only american to ever win it.   In '65 he threw a
        no-hitter against the Giants.

              Not all of Hanshin's great players were gaijin.  Great Japanese players
        for the Tigers include;
            Fumio Fujimura.  Like Babe Ruth, Fujimura started out as a
        pitcher, then became a slugger.  He won 34 games and lost 11, with a
        2.34 ERA.   When he injured his shoulder it might have ended his
        career, but instead he became an infielder, playing 1st and 3rd.   He hit
        .300 lifetime, with 1,126 RBIs, and 224 homers.

            Masaaki Koyama pitched 11 seasons for Hanshin.  In '62 he helped
        the Tigers win the pennant with a 27-11 record and a 1.66 ERA.
        He also won the Sawamura award (the Japanese equivalent of the Cy
        Yong award) that year.   He went on to play for the Flyers, Orions,
        and the Whales.

            Minoru Murayama pitched for Hanshin for 14 years, recording a lifetime
         ERA of 2.03   In 1970 he set the record for lowest season ERA in the
         Central League, with a 0.98  He won the Sawamura award in '65 and

            Yutaka Enatsu pitched nine seasons for the Tigers, setting a CL record
         of 401 strikeouts.  In '68 he won the Sawamura award, and in '73 he no-hit
         the Dragons.  He also played for the Hawks, Carp, Fighters, and Lions.

            Koichi Tabuchi played 10 years for Hanshin, winning the home run
         crown in '75, with 43 HRs.   He hit 474 homers lifetime, 320 while with
         the Tigers, and hit .260 for his career.

            Masayuki Kakefu was a 15 year slugger for the Tigers.  He batted .292
         with 349 homers and 1,019 RBIs   He earned three home run crowns and
         one RBI title.
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Japanese Baseball History
     Baseball came to Japan in the 1870s.  American visiting professors taught it to their students.   Baseball became very popular at the high school level, and still is.  From the early 1900s there has been an annual high school tournament held near Osaka.  Koshien stadium, where the Tigers play, was built to host the tournaments.
        The Japanese professional league was formed in 1936, with six teams, the Tigers being one of them.   In 1950 a two league system was formed, with the Tigers in the Central League.
        For more information about Japanese baseball history, please see
 The History of Baseball in Japan

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Other Japanese Baseball Related Sites.
   Japanese Standings ,from the Yakult Swallows Page
   Pitching Leaders , from the Yakult Swallows Page
    Batting Leaders , from the Yakult Swallows Page
    Essays , from the Yakult Swallows Page
     The History of Baseball in Japan , from my history and research site.  Has links to several good sites.
     Pro Yakyu This Week
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Some of my other Baseball Sites.
    The History of Baseball in Japan
     Baseball Links
       More Baseball Stuff
       Baseball History and Research
       The On-Line Baseball Store

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Hanshin Tigers Fan Pages
  We Love the Tigers
  Crazy About Hanshin Tigers
  Hanshin Tigers
  The Hanshin Tigers Page , by Australian fan Michael Owens.  Keep up to date at this site.
  Hanshin Tigers , includes a MIDI version of the Tiger's fight song.
  Odagiri's Detroit Tigers Page , this is a Detroit Tigers fan page made by a Japanese fan.

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Other Baseball Links  He has a book about how to snag balls when you are at a game.  He's snaged more than a thousand balls.   Check it out.

Thanks for visiting, come back soon.

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