Nippon Professional Baseball

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"NPB" redirects here. For other uses, see NPB (disambiguation).
Nippon Professional Baseball
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2015 Nippon Professional Baseball season
NPBLogo.png
Formerly Japanese Baseball League
Sport Baseball
Founded 1950
CEO Ryozo Kato
Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki
No. of teams 12
Country Japan
Most recent champion(s) Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Most titles Yomiuri Giants (22)
Official website NPB.or.jp (English)
Koshien Stadium (in 2009)
Seibu Dome (in 2007)

Nippon Professional Baseball (日本野球機構 Nippon Yakyū Kikō?) or NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan. Locally, it is often called Puro Yakyū (プロ野球?), meaning Professional Baseball. Outside of Japan, it is often just referred to as "Japanese baseball". The roots of the league can be traced back to the formation of the "Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club" (大日本東京野球倶楽部 Dai-Nippon Tōkyō Yakyū Kurabu?) in 1934 and the original Japanese Baseball League. NPB was formed when that league reorganized in 1950.

The league currently consists of two six-team circuits, the Central League and the Pacific League. Each season the winning clubs from the two leagues compete in the Japan Series, the championship series of NPB.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed expanding NPB to 16 total teams by adding two expansion franchises in each of the country's top-tier professional baseball leagues. The goal of such a move would be to energize the economies of the regions receiving the new teams. Okinawa, Shizuoka, Shikoku, and Niigata have been identified as prefectures that could play host to said teams.[1]

League structure[edit]

Nippon Professional Baseball consists of two leagues, the Central League and the Pacific League. There are also two secondary-level professional minor leagues, the Eastern League and the Western League, that play shorter schedules.

The season starts in late March or early April, and ends in October, with two or three all-star games in July. In recent decades prior to 2007, the two leagues each scheduled between 130 and 140 regular season games, with the 146 games played by the Central League in 2005 and 2006 being the only exception. Both leagues have since adopted a 146-game schedule. In general, Japanese teams play six games a week, with every Monday off.[2]

Following the conclusion of each regular season the best teams from each league go on to play in the "Nippon Series" or Japan Series.

In 2004, the Pacific League played five fewer games than the Central League teams during the regular season and used a new playoff format to determine its champion (and which team would advance to the Japan Series). The teams in third and second place played in a best-two-of-three series (all at the second place team's home ground) with the winner of that series going on to play the first place team in a best-three-of-five format at its home ground. In 2006, the Central League adopted the Pacific League's tournament as well, and the tournament became known as the Climax Series with the two winners, one from each league, competing in the Japan Series.[citation needed]

Comparison with Major League Baseball[edit]

The NPB rules are essentially those of Major League Baseball, but technical elements are slightly different: The Nippon league uses a smaller baseball, strike zone, and playing field. The Japanese baseball is wound more tightly and is harder than an American baseball. The strike zone is narrower "inside" than away from the batter. Five Nippon league teams have fields whose small dimensions would violate the American Official Baseball Rules.[3]

Major League Baseball (MLB) players, scouts, and sabermetricians describe play in the NPB as "AAAA"; less competitive than in the MLB, but more competitive than in AAA minor league baseball.[4][5][6] Play in the Pacific League is similar to that in American League baseball, with the use of designated hitters, unlike the Central League, which has no DH rule and is closer to National League baseball. Unlike North American baseball, Japanese baseball games may end in a tie. If the score is tied after nine innings of play, up to three additional innings will be played (up to 6 in postseason). If there is no winner after 12 innings (15 in postseason), the game is declared a draw. Since 2011 there is a 3-hour, 30-minute time limit in effect for regular season games only; no such limit applies to postseason.[citation needed]

Most Japanese teams have a six-man starting rotation (as opposed to MLB teams, which feature five-man rotations). Although each team roster has 28 players, managers pick three ineligible players before each game (which usually includes a pitcher who has started a recent game).[2]

Financial problems[edit]

Financial problems plague many teams in the league. It is believed[by whom?] that with the exception of the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, all teams are operating with considerable subsidies, often as much as ¥6 billion (about US$73 million), from their parent companies. A rise in the salaries of players is often blamed, but, from the start of the professional league, parent companies paid the difference as an advertisement. Most teams have never tried to improve their finances through constructive marketing. In addition, teams in the Central League historically saw much higher profits than the Pacific League, having popular teams such as the Giants and Tigers.[citation needed]

The number of metropolitan areas represented in the league increased from four to five in 1988, when the Nankai Hawks (now Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks) moved to Fukuoka; and to seven between 2003 and 2005, as the Nippon-Ham Fighters moved to Hokkaidō and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes merged with the Orix BlueWave and were replaced by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.[citation needed]

Until 1993, baseball was the only team sport played professionally in Japan. In that year, the J. League professional association football league was founded. The new soccer league placed teams in prefectural capitals around the country — rather than clustering them in and around Tokyo — and the teams were named after their locations rather than after corporate sponsors. Some[which?] Japanese baseball teams responded to the success of the J. League by de-emphasizing the corporate sponsors in their marketing efforts and/or by relocating to outlying regions of the country.[citation needed]

The wave of players moving to Major League Baseball, which began with Hideo Nomo "retiring" from the Kintetsu Buffaloes, then signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has also added to the financial problems. Attendance suffered as teams lost their most marketable players, while TV ratings declined as viewers tuned into broadcasts of Major League games.[7] To discourage players from leaving to play in North America, or to at least compensate teams that lose players, Japanese baseball and MLB agreed on a posting system for players under contract. MLB teams wishing to negotiate with a player submit bids for a "posting fee", which the winning MLB team would pay the Japanese team if the player signs with the MLB team. Free agents are not subject to the posting system, however.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The first professional baseball team in Japan was founded by media mogul Matsutarō Shōriki in late 1934 and called the Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Kurabu ("the great Japan Tokyo baseball club"). After matching up with a team of visiting American All-Stars that included Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, and Charlie Gehringer, the team spent the 1935 season barnstorming in the U.S., winning 93 of 102 games against semi-pro and Pacific Coast League teams. According to historian Joseph Reaves, "The only minor drawbacks to the team's popularity in the States were their kanji characters and their cumbersome Japanese name. They rectified both by renaming themselves the Tokyo Giants and adopting a uniform identical to the New York Giants…"[8]

From 1936–1950, professional baseball in Japan was under the name of the Japanese Baseball League (JBL). The league's dominant team was the renamed Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Kurabu, known as Tokyo Kyojin and then the Yomiuri Giants, which won nine league championships, including six in a row from 1938–1943.

NPB establishment[edit]

After the 1949 season, the JBL team owners reorganized into the NPB; Daiei Stars owner Masaichi Nagata promoted a two-league system, which became the Pacific League (initially called the Taiheiyo Baseball Union) and the Central League. (Nagata became the first president of the Pacific League.)[9]

Four JBL teams formed the basis of the Central League: the Chunichi Dragons, the Hanshin Tigers, the Yomiuri Giants, and the Shochiku Robins (formerly the Taiyō Robins). To fill out the league, four new teams were formed: the Hiroshima Carp, the Kokutetsu Swallows, the Nishi Nippon Pirates, and the Taiyō Whales.

Four JBL teams formed the basis of the Pacific League: the Hankyu Braves, the Nankai Hawks, the Daiei Stars, and the Tokyu Flyers. To fill out the league, three new teams were formed: the Kintetsu Pearls, the Mainichi Orions, and the Nishitetsu Clippers.

Matsutarō Shōriki, the Giants' owner, acted as NPB's unofficial commissioner and oversaw the first Japan Series, which featured the Mainichi Orions defeating the Shochiku Robins 4 games to 2.

Expansion and contraction[edit]

The Central League's Nishi Nippon Pirates existed for one season — they placed sixth in 1950, and the following season merged with the Nishitetsu Clippers (also based in Fukouka) to form the Nishitetsu Lions. This brought the number of Central League teams down to an ungainly arrangement of seven. In 1952, it was decided that any Central League team ending the season with a winning percentage below .300 would be disbanded or merged with other teams. The Shochiku Robins fell into this category, and were merged with the Taiyō Whales to become the Taiyō Shochiku Robins in January 1953. This enabled the Central League to shrink to an even number of six teams.

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 contract from the ungainly seven-team arrangement to six teams.

After these various franchise developments, by the end of the decade Nippon Professional Baseball had contracted from the initial allotment of 15 teams down to the current number of 12.

The 1960s and 1970s[edit]

On September 1, 1964, Nankai Hawks' prospect Masanori Murakami became the first Japanese player to play in Major League Baseball[10] when he appeared on the mound for the San Francisco Giants. Disputes over the rights to his contract eventually led to the 1967 United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement.

Continuing their dominance from the JBL, the Yomiuri Giants won nine consecutive Japan Series championships from 1965–1973.

The Black Mist Scandal rocked Nippon Professional Baseball between 1969 and 1971. The fallout from a series of game-fixing scandals in resulted in several star players receiving long suspensions, salary cuts, or being banned from professional play entirely; the resulting abandonment of baseball by many fans in Japan also led to the sale of the Nishitetsu Lions and the Toei Flyers.

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. In addition, the Pacific League adopted the designated hitter in 1975, where it continues to be used.

Hideo Nomo and the exodus to MLB[edit]

In 1995, star pitcher Hideo Nomo "retired" from the Kintetsu Buffaloes and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nomo pitched over the span of 13 seasons in the Major Leagues before retiring in 2008. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1995. He twice led the league in strikeouts, and also threw two no-hitters (to date the only Japanese pitcher in Major League Baseball to throw even one). Nomo's MLB success led to more NPB players moving to Major League Baseball,[11] and eventually led to the creation of the "posting system" in 1998.[12]

Since Nomo's exodus, more than 60 NPB players have played Major League Baseball. Some of the more notable examples include:

  • Ichiro Suzuki — after nine years with the Orix BlueWave, in 2001 Ichiro was posted by the BlueWave and claimed by MLB's Seattle Mariners. The first Japanese-born position player to be signed to the major leagues,[13] Ichiro led the American League (AL) in batting average and stolen bases en route to being named AL Rookie of the Year and AL Most Valuable Player. Ichiro has established a number of MLB batting records, including the single-season record for hits with 262. He had ten consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak by any player in history. Between his career hits in Japan's and America's major leagues, Ichiro stands at third place all-time in top-flight hits, trailing only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.
  • Kazuo Matsui — after eight stellar seasons with the Seibu Lions, Matsui signed with the New York Mets on December 15, 2003, in 2004 becoming the first Japanese infielder to play with a Major League Baseball team.[14] His seven seasons in Major League Baseball were not as successful, and he later returned to NPB.

Number of Japanese players in MLB season-by-season[edit]

Year Number of players New players[15]
1964 1 Masanori Murakami
1965 1
1995 1 Hideo Nomo
1996 2 Pitcher Mac Suzuki joins the Seattle Mariners (becoming the first Japanese player to pitch in the American League)
1997 4 Pitchers Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Takashi Kashiwada, and Hideki Irabu
1998 5 Pitcher Masato Yoshii
1999 8 Pitcher Tomo Ohka and Masao Kida
2000 8 Pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki
2001 9 Outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Tsuyoshi Shinjo
2002 13 Pitchers Kazuhisa Ishii, Takahito Nomura, Satoru Komiyama, and outfielder So Taguchi
2003 11 Pitcher Micheal Nakamura and outfielder Hideki Matsui
2004 13 Pitchers Akinori Otsuka, Shingo Takatsu, Kazuhito Tadano, and infielder Kazuo Matsui
2005 15 Pitcher Keiichi Yabu and infielders Tadahito Iguchi and Norihiro Nakamura
2006 9 Pitcher Takashi Saito and catcher Kenji Johjima
2007 14 Pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Kei Igawa, Masumi Kuwata, and infielder Akinori Iwamura
2008 18 Pitchers Kazuo Fukumori, Masahide Kobayashi, Hiroki Kuroda, Keiichi Yabu, Yasuhiko Yabuta, and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome
2009 18 Pitchers Kenshin Kawakami, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Ken Takahashi
2010 14 Pitcher Ryota Igarashi
2011 13 Pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama and Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Strike of 2004[edit]

In September 2004, the professional Japanese players struck for the first time in over 70 years. The strike arose from a dispute that took place between the owners of the 12 professional Japanese baseball teams and the players' union (which was led by popular Yakult Swallows player-manager Atsuya Furuta), concerning the merging of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes and the Orix Blue Wave. The owners wanted to get rid of the financially defunct Buffaloes, and merge the two baseball leagues, since teams in the Central League saw much higher profits than the Pacific League, having popular teams such as the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers. After negotiations, the owners agreed to guarantee the survival of the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, leaving the Central League with six teams and the Pacific League with five.[citation needed]

A battle escalated between the players union and the owners, and reached its height when Yomiuri Giants owner Tsuneo Watanabe controversially remarked that Furuta was "a mere player,"[16] implying that players had no say in what league would look like the next year. The dispute received huge press coverage (which mostly favored Furuta and the players' union) and was dubbed one of the biggest events in the history of Japanese baseball. Proposals and amendments concerning interleague games, player drafting, and management were also discussed between the players union and the owners during this period.

The strike was originally planned for all Saturday and Sunday games that month, starting from September 11, but was pushed back due to the agreement of another meeting between the union and the owners on September 10. The players decided to strike on September 18–19, 2004, when no progress was made in the negotiations, as there was insufficient time left in the season to hold discussions.[citation needed]

The dispute officially ended after the two groups reached consensus on September 23, 2004. As part of the agreement, the Buffaloes were allowed to merge with the Blue Wave (forming into the Orix Buffaloes); in addition, the Rakuten Golden Eagles were newly created (at a reduced "entry fee") to keep the former six-team league structure. Other agreements included the leagues adopting interleague play to help the Pacific League gain exposure by playing the more popular Central league teams. All these changes took place before the 2005 season.

Interleague play[edit]

The two leagues began interleague play in 2005, with each team playing two three-game series (one home, one away) against each of the six teams in the other league. This was reduced to two two-game series in 2007. All interleague play games are played in a seven-week span near the middle of the season.

Currently,[when?] Pacific League's teams have won all the interleague titles.

League championship series/Climax Series[edit]

After 2004, a three-team playoff system was introduced in the Pacific League, dubbed the "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 league playoff 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.

Recent history[edit]

In 2011 Miyagi Baseball Stadium, home of the Rakuten Eagles, was badly damaged by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[17]

The 2013 season featured a livelier baseball which was secretly introduced into NPB, resulting in a marked increase in home runs league-wide.[18] Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the NPB single-season home run record of 55, previously held by professional baseball's all-time home run leader Sadaharu Oh.[19] Balantien finished the season with 60 home runs. Three-term NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato was forced to resign over the scandal when the changed baseball was revealed.[18]

Expatriate baseball players in Japan[edit]

For most of its history, NPB regulations imposed "gaijin waku," a limit on the number of non-Japanese people per team to two or three — including the manager and/or coaching staff.[20] Even today, a team cannot have more than four foreign players on a 25-man game roster, although there is no limit on the number of foreign players that it may sign. If there are four, they cannot all be pitchers nor all be position players.[21] This limits the cost and competition for expensive players of other nationalities, and is similar to rules in many European sports leagues' roster limits on non-European players.

Nonetheless, expatriate baseball players in Japan have been a feature of the Japanese professional leagues since 1934. Hundreds of foreigners — particularly Americans — have played NPB (though most don't last more than a season or two). Taiwanese nationals Shosei Go and Hiroshi Oshita both starred in the 1940s. American players began to steadily find spots on NPB rosters in the 1960s. American players hold several NPB records, including highest career batting average (Leron Lee, .334), highest single season batting average (Randy Bass, .389), most hits in single season (Matt Murton, 214), and the dubious record of most strikeouts in a season by a hitter (Ralph Bryant, 204). Americans rank #3 (Tuffy Rhodes, 55) and #5 (Randy Bass, 54) on the list of most home runs in a season, and #2 in single-season RBI (Bobby Rose, 153). Curaçaoan-Dutch outfielder Wladimir Balentien holds the NPB single-season home run record with 60 round-trippers in 2013. Venezuelans Alex Ramírez, Alex Cabrera, Bobby Marcano, and Roberto Petagine all had long, successful NPB careers.

Many of the most celebrated foreign players came to Japan after not finding success in the Major Leagues. (see: "Big in Japan")

Since the 1970s, foreigners have also made an impact in Nippon Professional Baseball's managing and coaching ranks, with Americans Bobby Valentine and Trey Hillman managing their respective teams to Japan Series championships.

Teams[edit]

Franchise locations[edit]

Locations are listed from north to south. Only the most prominent names of each franchise are listed.

Locality 1950 1951–1952 1953 1954 1955–1956 1957 1958–1972 1973–1977 1978 1979–1988 1989–2003 2004 2005–present
Sapporo   Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL), 2004–present
Sendai   Lotte Orions (PL), 1973–1977   Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (PL), 2005–present
Greater Tokyo Kokutetsu Swallows / Sankei Atoms / Yakult Swallows (CL), 1950–present
Yomiuri Giants (CL), 1950–present
Toei Flyers / Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL), 1950–2003
Mainichi/Daimai/Tokyo/Lotte Orions (PL), 1950–1972   Lotte Orions / Chiba Lotte Marines (PL), 1978–present
  Takahashi Unions (PL), 1954–1956 Daiei Unions (PL), 1957   Saitama Seibu Lions (PL), 1979–present
Daiei Stars (PL), 1950–1956
  Taiyo Whales / Yokohama BayStars (CL), 1955–present
Nagoya Chunichi Dragons (CL), 1950–present
Greater Osaka Hanshin Tigers (CL), 1950–present
Hankyu Braves / Orix BlueWave (PL), 1950–2004 Orix Buffaloes (PL), 2005–present
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL), 1950–2004
Nankai Hawks (PL), 1950–1988
Shochiku Robins (CL), 1950–1954
Hiroshima Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL), 1950–present
Shimonoseki Taiyo Whales (CL), 1950–1952
Fukuoka Nishitetsu Lions (PL), 1950–1978   Fukuoka Daiei/SoftBank Hawks (PL), 1989–present
Nishi Nippon Pirates (CL), 1950


Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

Single season batting[edit]

Player Year
Batting Average
United States Randy Bass .389 1986
Japan Ichiro Suzuki .387 2000
Japan Ichiro Suzuki .385 1994
Home Runs
Curaçao Wladimir Balentien 60 2013
Venezuela Alex Cabrera 55 2002
United States Tuffy Rhodes 55 2001
Taiwan Sadaharu Oh 55 1964
United States Randy Bass 54 1985
RBIs
Japan Makoto Kozuru 161 1950
United States Robert Rose 153 1999
Japan Makoto Imaoka 147 2005
Japan Fumio Fujimura 146 1950
Japan Hiromitsu Ochiai 146 1985
Hits
United States Matt Murton 214 2010
Japan Ichiro Suzuki 210 1994
Japan Norichika Aoki 209 2010
Stolen Bases
Japan Yutaka Fukumoto 106 1972
Japan Yutaka Fukumoto 95 1973
Japan Yutaka Fukumoto 94 1974
Strikeouts
United States Ralph Bryant 204 1993
United States Ralph Bryant 198 1990
United States Ralph Bryant 187 1989
United States Ralph Bryant 176 1992
Japan Akinori Iwamura 173 2004
Cuba Orestes Destrade 165 1990

Single season pitching[edit]

Player Year
ERA
Japan Hideo Fujimoto 0.73 1943
Japan Masaru Kageura 0.79 1936 fall
Japan Eiji Sawamura 0.81 1937 spring
Wins
Russia Victor Starffin 42 1942
Japan Kazuhisa Inao 42 1961
Japan Jiro Noguchi 40 1942
Strikeouts
Japan Yutaka Enatsu 401 1968
Japan Kazuhisa Inao 353 1961
Japan Masaichi Kaneda 350 1955

Career batting[edit]

Player Years played
Batting Average[22]
United States Leron Lee .334 1977–1987
Japan Tsutomu Wakamatsu .31918 1971–1989
South Korea Isao Harimoto .31915 1959–1981
Home Runs
Taiwan Sadaharu Oh 868 1959–1980
Japan Katsuya Nomura 657 1954–1980
Japan Hiromitsu Kadota 567 1970–1992
Hits
South Korea Isao Harimoto 3085 1959–1981
Japan Katsuya Nomura 2901 1954–1980
Taiwan Sadaharu Oh 2786 1959–1980
RBIs
Taiwan Sadaharu Oh 2170 1959-1980
Japan Katsuya Nomura 1988 1954–1980
Japan Hiromitsu Kadota 1678 1970–1992
Stolen Bases
Japan Yutaka Fukumoto 1065 1969–1988
Japan Yoshinori Hirose 596 1955–1977
Japan Isao Shibata 579 1969–1988
Strikeouts
Japan Kazuhiro Kiyohara 1955 1986-2008
Japan Motonobu Tanishige 1723 1989-
Japan Koji Akiyama 1712 1981-2002
OPS
Taiwan Sadaharu Oh 1.080 1959-1980
Japan Hideki Matsui .995 1993-2002
Venezuela Alex Cabrera .990 2001-2012

Career pitching[edit]

Player Years played
ERA
Japan Hideo Fujimoto 1.90 1942–1955
Wins
Japan Masaichi Kaneda 400 1950–1969
Japan Tetsuya Yoneda 350 1956–1977
Japan Masaaki Koyama 320 1953–1973
Japan Keishi Suzuki 317 1966–1985
Japan Takehiko Bessho 310 1942–1960
Russia Victor Starffin 303 1936–1955
Strikeouts
Japan Masaichi Kaneda 4490 1950–1969
Japan Tetsuya Yoneda 3388 1956–1977
Japan Masaaki Koyama 3159 1953–1973
Japan Keishi Suzuki 3061 1966–1985
Saves
Japan Hitoki Iwase 402 1999–
Japan Shingo Takatsu 286 1991–2003, 2006–2007
Japan Kazuhiro Sasaki 252 1990–1999, 2004–2005

ERA champions[edit]

Perfect games[edit]

See also: Perfect game
Date Pitcher (Club) Score Opponent Ballpark
June 28, 1950 Hideo Fujimoto (Yomiuri Giants) 4–0 Nishi-Nippon Pirates Aomori Stadium
June 19, 1955 Fumio Takechi (Kintetsu Pearls) 1–0 Daiei Stars Ōsaka Stadium
September 19, 1956 Yoshitomo Miyaji (Kokutetsu Swallows) 6–0 Hiroshima Carp Kanazawa Stadium
August 21, 1957 Masaichi Kaneda (Kokutetsu Swallows) 1–0 Chunichi Dragons Chunichi Stadium
July 19, 1958 Sadao Nishimura (Nishitetsu Lions) 1–0 Toei Flyers Komazawa Stadium
August 11, 1960 Gentaro Shimada (Taiyō Whales) 1–0 Ōsaka Tigers Kawasaki Stadium
June 20, 1961 Yoshimi Moritaki (Kokutetsu Swallows) 1–0 Chunichi Dragons Korakuen Stadium
May 1, 1966 Yoshiro Sasaki (Taiyō Whales) 1–0 Hiroshima Carp Hiroshima Municipal Stadium
May 12, 1966 Tsutomu Tanaka (Nishitetsu Lions) 2–0 Nankai Hawks Heiwadai Stadium
September 14, 1968 Yoshiro Sotokoba (Hiroshima Toyo Carp) 2–0 Taiyō Whales Hiroshima Municipal Stadium
October 6, 1970 Koichiro Sasaki (Kintetsu Buffaloes) 3–0 Nankai Hawks Ōsaka Stadium
August 21, 1971 Yoshimasa Takahashi (Toei Flyers) 4–0 Nishitetsu Lions Korakuen Stadium
October 10, 1973 Soroku Yagisawa (Lotte Orions) 1–0 Taiheiyo Club Lions Miyagi Stadium
August 31, 1978 Yutaro Imai (Hankyu Braves) 5–0 Lotte Orions Miyagi Stadium
May 18, 1994 Hiromi Makihara (Yomiuri Giants) 6–0 Hiroshima Toyo Carp Fukuoka Dome
November 1, 2007 Daisuke Yamai and Hitoki Iwase (Chunichi Dragons) 1–0† Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Nagoya Dome
  • †: 5th game of Japan Series; In NPB, no-hitters or perfect games achieved by multiple pitchers in one game are considered unofficial. However, it is recognised by the WBSC (international governing body of baseball) as a perfect game.

International play[edit]

Between 1986 and 2006, a team of Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Stars made a biennial end-of-the-season tour of Japan, playing exhibition games against the NPB All-Stars in the MLB Japan All-Star Series. The All-Star Series continued again after an eight-year break. For the first time in series history, NPB is represented by their national team Samurai Japan in 2014 series.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Japan's new plan to beat deflation - more baseball". thestaronline. 2014-05-20. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Waldstein, David. "Ace Favors Fewer Starts to Protect Pitchers' Arms: Rangers' Yu Darvish Pushes for a Six-Man Pitching Rotation," New York Times (July 21, 2014).
  3. ^ The note set out at the end of Rule 1.04 specifies minimum dimensions for American ballparks built or renovated after 1958: 325 feet (99 m) down each foul line and 400 feet (120 m) to center field.
  4. ^ "For Players and Agents RE: Playing Baseball in Japan". japanball.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ Clemmons, Anna Katherine (2011-01-07). "Matt Murton thrives in Japanese setting". ESPN. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Lykos, Deana M. (June 2008). "Why are the Japanese Leagues Considered AAAA Baseball?" (PDF). Asian Baseball Journal 6 (2): 1–3. 
  7. ^ Letter from Japan: Go West, Young Man
  8. ^ Reaves, Joseph A. Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia (U. of Nebraska Press, 2002), p. 77.
  9. ^ "Nagata, Masaichi". Hall of Famers List. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Kleinberg, Alexander (December 24, 2001). "Where have you gone, Masanori Murakami?". Major League Baseball. Archived from the original on October 24, 2003. Retrieved November 13, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Nomo Retires from Baseball", Dodgers.com: News, July 17, 2008 
  12. ^ Whiting, Robert (April 2004). The Meaning of Ichiro: The New Wave from Japan and the Transformation of our National Pastime. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-53192-8. p. 146.
  13. ^ "48 players born in Japan". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  14. ^ "The Official Site of The Colorado Rockies: Official Info" (Press release). Colorado.rockies.mlb.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  15. ^ "MLB Players from Japan," JapaneseBallplayers.com. Accessed April 4, 2015.
  16. ^ [1] Japanball.com
  17. ^ Japan Pro Baseball and the Earthquake and Tsunami
  18. ^ a b "Ryozo Kato resigns as commish," ESPN.com (September 13, 2013).
  19. ^ Berry, Adam (September 15, 2013). "Balentien breaks Oh's Japanese home run record". MLB.com. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Foreign Player Restrictions?," JapaneseBaseball.com. Accessed March 12, 2015.
  21. ^ JapaneseBaseball.com: Foreign Player Restrictions, retrieved 2013-12-27 
  22. ^ Ichiro Suzuki hit .353 for his Japanese career (1993–2000), but did not have enough at-bats to qualify for career leadership.

Further reading[edit]

  • Fitts, Robert K. (2005). Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-2630-2. 
  • Johnson, Daniel (2006). Japanese Baseball: A Statistical Handbook. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2841-4. 
  • Whiting, Robert (2005). The Samurai Way of Baseball: The Impact of Ichiro and the New Wave from Japan. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69403-7. 
  • Whiting, Robert (1990). You Gotta Have Wa. Vintage. ISBN 0-679-72947-X. 

External links[edit]