1998 Japan Series

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1998 Japan Series
Teams
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Yokohama BayStars (4) Hiroshi Gondoh
Seibu Lions (2) Osamu Higashio
Dates October 18 — October 26
MVP Takanori Suzuki (Yokohama)
Broadcast
Television Fuji TV (Games 1, 6), TBS (Games 2, 4), TV Asahi (Games 3, 5)
← 1997 Japan Series 1999 →

The 1998 Japan Series was the 48th meeting between the champions of the Central and Pacific Leagues. The Seibu Lions represented the Pacific League, while the Yokohama BayStars represented the Central League. The BayStars won the series in six games, giving them their first Japan Series championship since 1960.

Background[edit]

This was a matchup of one of the most successful teams in the last two decades against one of the least successful. The Lions were the team of the 1980s, winning eight championships from 1982 to 1992, and making five straight appearances in the championship series from 1990 until 1994. On the other hand, the BayStars had not won the Japan Series since 1960, when the team was known as the Taiyō Whales, and had not made any appearances since.

Seibu Lions[edit]

This Seibu team was far different from the dominating teams that they enjoyed in the 1980s. Fumiya Nishiguchi (13-12, 3.38) led the Lions pitching staff, which was also anchored in the bullpen by Denney Tomori, Shinji Mori, and Kiyoshi Toyoda. Offensively, the Lions had Kazuo Matsui at the top of the lineup, as he batted .311 and stole 43 bases. Rudy Pemberton and Ken Suzuki supplied the power numbers for the Lions.

Yokohama BayStars[edit]

The team's offense was known as the "Machine Gun Offense", since the BayStars led the league in batting average and were capable of rapping out hits in quick succession at practically any time. Takanori Suzuki (.337), Bobby Rose (.325), and team captain Takuro Ishii (.314) led the team with their hitting prowess, and their teammates in the batting order all followed suit. Pitching-wise, Yokohama was led by Takashi Saito and Daisuke Miura for starters, and Kazuhiro Sasaki was practically automatic at closer, recording 45 saves and posting a microscopic 0.64 ERA.

Summary[edit]

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 BayStars – 9, Lions – 4 October 18 Yokohama Stadium 29,025
2 BayStars – 4, Lions – 0 October 19 Yokohama Stadium 29,076
3 Lions – 7, BayStars – 3 October 22 Seibu Dome 31,599
4 Lions – 4, BayStars – 2 October 23 Seibu Dome 31,685
5 Lions – 5, BayStars – 17 October 24 Seibu Dome 31,756
6 BayStars – 2, Lions – 1 October 26 Yokohama Stadium 29,289