Pacific League

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This article is about the Japanese major league. For the Mexican winter league, see Mexican Pacific League. For the American minor league, see Pacific Coast League.
Pacific League
Pacific League Logo.png
Sport Baseball
Founded 1949
No. of teams 6 (six)
Country Japan
Most recent champion(s) Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (16th)
Most titles Seibu Lions (21)

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.

History[edit]

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.[1]

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). The Unions existed for a single season, finishing 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.[2]

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.

Current teams[edit]

Team Japanese Name Place Stadium Sponsor
Chiba Lotte Marines 千葉ロッテマリーンズ
Chiba Rotte Marīnzu
Chiba, Chiba QVC Marine Field Lotte
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 福岡ソフトバンクホークス
Fukuoka Sofutobanku Hōkusu
Fukuoka, Fukuoka Fukuoka Yafuoku! 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
Orix Buffaloes オリックス・バファローズ
Orikkusu Bafarōzu
Osaka, Osaka Kyocera Dome Osaka ORIX
Saitama Seibu Lions 埼玉西武ライオンズ
Saitama Seibu Raionzu
Tokorozawa, Saitama Seibu 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 Kleenex Stadium Miyagi Rakuten

Pacific League pennant winners[edit]

Climax Series Winners[edit]

  • 2014 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
  • 2013 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
  • 2012 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
  • 2011 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
  • 2010 Chiba Lotte Marines
  • 2009 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
  • 2008 Saitama Seibu Lions
  • 2007 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

Pacific League statistics[edit]

Team Pennants Runners-up
Saitama Seibu Lions 21 11
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 16 16
Orix Buffaloes 12 14
Chiba Lotte Marines 5 8
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 5 7
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 4 10
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1 1
Daiei Unions 0 0
Takahashi Unions 0 0

Most Valuable Pitcher[edit]

See: Best Nine Award#Other notes

Best Nine Awards[edit]

Main article: Best Nine Award

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nagata, Masaichi". Hall of Famers List. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Nakazawa, Fujio," The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Japan). Accessed March 27, 2015.

External links[edit]