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Orix Buffaloes

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The are a Nippon Professional Baseball team based in Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

 and Kobe
Kobe
, pronounced , is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, approximately west of Osaka...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. They play in the Pacific League
Pacific League
The or 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...

. The team is owned by the Orix Group
ORIX
is a financial services group established 17 April 1964 as Orient Leasing Co., Ltd.. The company's name was changed to ORIX Corporation in 1989...

, a leading diversified financial services company based in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

.

The team was formed after the 2004 NPB season by the merger of the Orix BlueWave and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes
Kintetsu Buffaloes
The was a Nippon Professional Baseball team based in Osaka, Japan, which were in the Pacific League. The team was owned by Kinki Nippon Railway Co. and later sold to the Orix Group, the owner of the Orix BlueWave baseball team, in 2004...

. The merged team began play in the 2005 NPB season, splitting its home games between the Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium, the former home of the BlueWave, in Kobe and the Kyocera Dome Osaka, that of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, in Osaka.

The Hankyu Braves


The Orix BlueWave was founded in 1936 under the ownership of a Japanese railway company , as . Later nicknamed Hankyu Braves, it was one of the first Japanese professional baseball teams.

The Hankyu Braves were one of the strongest teams not only in the Pacific League but in all of Japan. Between 1967 and 1972, the Hankyu Braves won the Pacific League pennant five times, but lost the Japan Series each time against the Tokyo Giants
Yomiuri Giants
The are a professional baseball team based in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The team competes in the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball, the top level of professional play in Japan. They play their home games in the Tokyo Dome, opened in 1988. The English-language press occasionally calls the...

. Manager Yukio Nishimoto
Yukio Nishimoto
was a Japanese baseball player and manager. He played for the Mainichi Orions from 1950 to 1955. As a manager he won eight Pacific League pennants. However his clubs would never go on to win the Japan Series, earning him the nickname "Great Tragic Leader". Nishimoto was inducted into the Japanese...

 was known as "the great manager in tragedy" because of those losses. But the Hankyu Braves won Japan Series three times in a row from 1975, against Tokyo Giants
Yomiuri Giants
The are a professional baseball team based in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The team competes in the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball, the top level of professional play in Japan. They play their home games in the Tokyo Dome, opened in 1988. The English-language press occasionally calls the...

 in 1976 and 1977, led by manager Toshiharu Ueda. At that time many good players in Japanese Baseball history played for the Hankyu Braves.

In the 1980s, the team was still strong but lost the pennant to the Seibu Lions every year except 1984.

On October 19, 1988, Hankyu Railway sold the franchise to the lease company Orient Lease (since 1989 known as Orix Group). That was known as "the longest day of the Pacific League" because it was also the day when Kintetsu Buffaloes played the legendary double-header for the Pacific League pennant (but they could not have got the pennant because of a draw game). The deal had been done with two assurances: the team name would remain "Braves", and the franchise would stay in Nishinomiya. The sale was a surprise, because it was much rarer in those days in Japan for the ownership of a professional baseball team to change, not to mention for a large company to sell one of its parts; Hankyu Railway was thought of as one of the big companies that would never need to do such a thing.

The BlueWave


During the first two years of new ownership, the team was known as the Orix Braves and played in Nishinomiya. In 1991, the team became the Orix BlueWave, and moved to Kobe. Longtime fans were shocked by these changes. However, since Nishinomiya and Kobe are close to one another, and the new home field of the team was better than the old one, most fans accepted the move, although with some nostalgia for the historic "Braves" name. The team was sometimes called by fans and the baseball media, which means "blue wave" in Japanese.

Led by Ichiro Suzuki, in 1995 and 1996 the Orix BlueWave won the Pacific League pennant. In 1996, they also won the Japan Series
Japan Series
, or is the annual championship series in Nippon Professional Baseball, the top baseball league in Japan. It is a seven-game series between the winning clubs of the league's two circuits, the Central League and the Pacific League....

.

Famous players


Famous former Orix BlueWave players include Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki
, usually known simply as is a Major League Baseball right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro has established a number of batting records, including the sport's single-season record for hits with 262...

 (now playing for the Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. Enfranchised in , the Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Safeco Field has been the Mariners' home ballpark since July...

 of the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

) and Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Shigetoshi Hasegawa
is a retired relief pitcher in Major League Baseball and best-selling author and Japanese television personality. He achieved the most recognition when he played for the Seattle Mariners from through . Previously, Hasegawa played with the Anaheim Angels , and before that spent six years with the...

 (formerly of the Anaheim Angels
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California, United States. The Angels are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The "Angels" name originates from the city in which the team started, Los Angeles...

 and Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. Enfranchised in , the Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Safeco Field has been the Mariners' home ballpark since July...

), as well as Daryl Spencer
Daryl Spencer
Daryl Dean Spencer , is a former professional baseball player. He was a utility infielder, playing shortstop, second base, and third base in the major leagues from 1952-1963. He played for the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, St...

, Troy Neel
Troy Neel
Troy Lee Neel is a former professional baseball player who played in the major leagues for the Oakland Athletics primarily as a first baseman and designated hitter from -...

, and So Taguchi
So Taguchi
is a Nippon Professional Baseball outfielder who is currently playing with the Orix Buffaloes. Previously, he has played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball, and with the Orix BlueWave in Nippon Professional Baseball.Taguchi is the first...

.

Other remarkable former players include: Tetsuya Yoneda
Tetsuya Yoneda
Tetsuya Yoneda is a Japanese former professional baseball pitcher with the Hankyu Braves in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. He won 350 games and is a Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.He was so tough that he was called Gasoline Tank....

 (350 game winner), Takao Kajimoto
Takao Kajimoto
was a left-handed Japanese baseball pitcher for the Hankyu Braves from 1954 to 1973. He won 254 games and was a 12-time All-Star during his career. In 2007 he was elected to Meikyukai, one of the two Japanese baseball halls of fame.-Career:...

, Roberto Barbon, Tokuji Nagaike, Mitsuhiro Adachi (underhand big-game pitcher who defeated the Tokyo Giants), Yutaka Fukumoto
Yutaka Fukumoto
Yutaka Fukumoto is a retired Japanese professional baseball player in Nippon Professional Baseball born in Osaka, Osaka.After a brief career at the company team of Matsushita, he was drafted seventh overall by the Hankyu Braves in 1968. In only his second season, he stole 75 bases, setting the...

, Hisashi Yamada
Hisashi Yamada
was a Japanese baseball submarine pitcher. He played with the Hankyu Braves in Nippon Professional Baseball from to .Yamada won the Pacific League MVP for three years in a row , and the Japan Series MVP in 1977. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in .-External links:...

 (Japan's winningest underhand pitcher), Hideji Kato, Yutaro Imai (once pitched a perfect game), Roberto Marcano
Bobby Marcano
Roberto "Bobby" Marcano was a Venezuelan professional baseball player who made a name for himself playing in Nippon Professional Baseball and for Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League....

, Yoshinori Sato, Greg 'Boomer' Wells
Greg Wells (baseball)
Gregory De Wayne "Boomer" Wells is a former Major League Baseball player. Wells played for the Toronto Blue Jays in and for the Minnesota Twins in...

 (the first non-Japanese triple crown hitter in NPB history), Masafumi Yamamori, Nobuyuki Hoshino and Yasuo Fujii.

Kintetsu, 1950-2004



The Kintetsu Buffalo were the first Japanese team to sign an American player. They signed former major league pitcher Glenn Mickens and catcher Ron Bottler for the 1959 season. Mickens had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953 and Bottler had been a career minor league catcher in the United States.

Baseball Hall of Famers


Elected mainly for Hankyu Braves service
  • Takao Kajimoto
    Takao Kajimoto
    was a left-handed Japanese baseball pitcher for the Hankyu Braves from 1954 to 1973. He won 254 games and was a 12-time All-Star during his career. In 2007 he was elected to Meikyukai, one of the two Japanese baseball halls of fame.-Career:...

    , P, 1954-1973 (inducted 2007)
  • Yutaka Fukumoto
    Yutaka Fukumoto
    Yutaka Fukumoto is a retired Japanese professional baseball player in Nippon Professional Baseball born in Osaka, Osaka.After a brief career at the company team of Matsushita, he was drafted seventh overall by the Hankyu Braves in 1968. In only his second season, he stole 75 bases, setting the...

    , CF, 1969-1988 (inducted 2002)

Elected for service with other teams, as well as Hankyu and Orix
  • Hisashi Yamada
    Hisashi Yamada
    was a Japanese baseball submarine pitcher. He played with the Hankyu Braves in Nippon Professional Baseball from to .Yamada won the Pacific League MVP for three years in a row , and the Japan Series MVP in 1977. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in .-External links:...

    , P, 1969-1988 (inducted 2006)
  • Hiromitsu Kadota
    Hiromitsu Kadota
    was a Japanese professional baseball player for the Nankai Hawks, Orix Braves and Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. Reputed for his slugging ability, he ate a lot and became a strong hitter, though he is suffered from diabetes mellitus even now. He hit 44 home runs at the age of 40 in 1988. He was retired after...

    , DH, 1989-1990 (inducted 2006)
  • Akira Ōgi, MGR 1988-1992†, 1994–2001, 2005 (inducted 2004)
  • Toshiharu Ueda, MGR, 1974–1978, 1981-1990 (inducted 2003)
  • Tetsuya Yoneda
    Tetsuya Yoneda
    Tetsuya Yoneda is a Japanese former professional baseball pitcher with the Hankyu Braves in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. He won 350 games and is a Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.He was so tough that he was called Gasoline Tank....

    , P, 1956-1975 (inducted 2000)
  • Futoshi Nakanishi, Head coach / Hitting coach, 1985-1990†, 1995-1997 (inducted 1999)

†For Kintetsu Buffaloes
Elected mainly for Kintetsu Buffaloes service
  • Keishi Suzuki, P, 1966-1985 (inducted 2002)
  • Yukio Nishimoto
    Yukio Nishimoto
    was a Japanese baseball player and manager. He played for the Mainichi Orions from 1950 to 1955. As a manager he won eight Pacific League pennants. However his clubs would never go on to win the Japan Series, earning him the nickname "Great Tragic Leader". Nishimoto was inducted into the Japanese...

    , MGR 1974-1981 (inducted 1988)

Former players and managers


as Orix Buffaloes (清原 和博) - 1B or 3B

as Orix BlueWave

as Kintetsu Buffaloes

as Hankyu (and Orix) Braves

MLB player


Active:
  • Ichiro Suzuki
    Ichiro Suzuki
    , usually known simply as is a Major League Baseball right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro has established a number of batting records, including the sport's single-season record for hits with 262...

     (2001-)


Retired:
  • Chan-Ho Park
    Chan-ho Park
    Chan Ho Park is a South Korean professional baseball pitcher for the Hanwha Eagles of Korea Baseball Organization. He previously played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League...

     (1994-2010)
  • Shigetoshi Hasegawa
    Shigetoshi Hasegawa
    is a retired relief pitcher in Major League Baseball and best-selling author and Japanese television personality. He achieved the most recognition when he played for the Seattle Mariners from through . Previously, Hasegawa played with the Anaheim Angels , and before that spent six years with the...

     (1997–2005)
  • Masao Kida
    Masao Kida
    is a Japanese baseball pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. He played in Major League Baseball from -, and -.-Biography:Kida was drafted in the first round in , by the Yomiuri Giants, after graduating from the Nippon University high school. In , he won 12 games, recorded the most...

     (1999–2005)
  • So Taguchi
    So Taguchi
    is a Nippon Professional Baseball outfielder who is currently playing with the Orix Buffaloes. Previously, he has played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball, and with the Orix BlueWave in Nippon Professional Baseball.Taguchi is the first...

    (2002–2009)

Mascots


until 2010
  • Neppie #111, a young boy
  • Ripsea #222, a young girl


2011
  • Buffalo Bull #111
  • Buffalo Bell #222

External links

Orix Buffaloes