Tokyo Yakult Swallows
|Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
|Ballpark||Meiji Jingu Stadium|
Tsubame (燕, meaning swallows)
|League championships||1978, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001|
|Post-season championships||1978, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001|
|Former name(s)||Kokutetsu Swallows (1950–1965),
Sankei Swallows (1965),
Yakult Swallows (1974–2005)
|Colors||White, Red and Navy|
|Logo Design||"Tokyo Yakult Swallows" written in red and navy|
The Swallows are named after their corporate owners, the Yakult Corporation. From 1950 to 1965, the team was owned by the former Japanese National Railways (known as Kokutetsu (国鉄) in Japanese) and called the Kokutetsu Swallows; the team was then owned by the newspaper Sankei Shimbun from 1965 to 1968 and called the Sankei Atoms. Yakult purchased the team in 1970 and restored its original Swallows name in 1974. Then it was renamed the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in 2006.
Kokutetsu and Sankei era (1950-1968) 
The franchise was established for the first time in 1950 when the team was created by the owners of former Japanese National Railways. The team name was decided to be Kokutetsu Swallows. In 1961, the team ended up being 3rd in the league for first time in their team history.
Yakult era (1974-2005) 
In 1990, Katsuya Nomura became the new manager of Swallows, making drastic changes in the team. Although his first year at the Swallows resulted in them finishing in 5th place in the league, the Swallows became 3rd in the league the next year, 1991 for the first time since 1980.
Tokyo Yakult era (2006-present) 
In 2006, Tokyo was added to the team name, resulting in the team name of Tokyo Yakult Swallows, and the logo of Tokyo was added to the uniform for the first tiem since the Kokutetsu era. The team maintained a winning percentage of .500, and ended up in 3rd place in the league.
2011 was an impressive year for Swallows. In April, the Swallows topped the Central League and kept 1st place until September when the Chunichi Dragons climbed to win in the pennant race, ultimately leaving the Swallows in 2nd place in the Central League.
The Swallows entered the Climax Series in 2009, and faced Yomiuri Giants for the stage 1, which ultimately resulted in a 2-1 victory. Swallows advanced for their first time into stage 2 and faced the defending Central League champions, Chunichi Dragons. Swallows eventually lost against the Dragons by 2-4, ending their post season. At the end of season, Hirotoshi Ishii retired from the team.
Current roster 
Manager and Head Coach
Honoured numbers 
Former players 
- Joe Pepitone (1973)
- Charlie Manuel (1976–1978)
- Floyd Bannister (1990)
- Rex Hudler (1993)
- Hensley Meulens (1993)
- Roberto Petagine (1999-2002)
- Aaron Guiel (2007-2011)
MLB players 
- Joe Pepitone (1962-1973)
- Masato Yoshii (1998–2002)
- Kazuhisa Ishii (2002–2005)
- Shingo Takatsu (2004–2005)
- Akinori Iwamura (2007–2010)
- Ryota Igarashi (2010–2012)
- Norichika Aoki (2012–)
The team's mascot is a black swallow with a red face named Tsubakuro. He is known for his feuds with the Orix Buffaloes mascots.
There is also a female swallow mascot named Tsubami. She wears a skirt and may be intended as Tsubakuro's little sister, just as Bell is Bull's little sister.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
- (Japanese) Tokyo Yakult Swallows official web site
- English-language site covering the Tokyo Yakult Swallows
|Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Winner