Eiji Sawamura Award

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Eiji Sawamura of past days

The Eiji Sawamura Award (沢村栄治賞 Sawamura Eiji-shō?), commonly known as the Sawamura Award, is an honor bestowed upon the top starting pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball each year.

The award was originally established by Japanese magazine "Nekkyū" in 1947 to honor the career of Eiji Sawamura, a power pitcher who enjoyed an illustrious career for the Tokyo Giants before being killed in combat during World War II. It is a special award that is independent of the official Most Valuable Pitcher award that is presented to one pitcher in each league (Central and Pacific) each year.

Overview[edit]

Selection process[edit]

One starting pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball is chosen at the end of each season based on the following selection criteria.

The selection criteria were established in 1982; prior to this, a pool of journalists voted on the pitcher they thought was most deserving of the award without any particular criteria. These simply serve as guidelines; while the pitcher who fulfills the most criteria has the most likelihood of winning, pitchers who do not fulfill all seven criteria have often been presented the award.

In the rare event that another pitcher has a season that is deemed more outstanding, a pitcher may, in turn, fulfill all seven criteria and not win the award. In 2008, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters starting pitcher Yu Darvish (16-4, 1.88 ERA, 208 strikeouts) fulfilled all seven criteria, but Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma won the award despite meeting only six criteria because it was deemed that Iwakuma (21-4, 1.87 ERA, 159 strikeouts) had the better season overall.

The selection committee usually consists of five former pitchers. The 2008 panel consisted of Masayuki Dobashi (chairman), Masaji Hiramatsu, Tsuneo Horiuchi, Choji Murata, and Yutaka Ohno.

Other notes[edit]

Because it began as an independent award by Nekkyū, a magazine catered towards Giants fans, only Central League pitchers were eligible to win the award from 1950 (the first year the NPB employed the current two-league format) to 1989. The first pitcher to be bestowed the honors from the Pacific League was Hideo Nomo for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1990.

No pitcher was found to be sufficiently deserving of the award in 1971, 1980, 1984, and 2000. The award has been presented to two pitchers in the same season twice (1966, 2003).

While it is sometimes assumed that the award was introduced following the creation of the Cy Young Award in Major League Baseball, the Cy Young was not introduced until 1956, nine years after the creation of the Sawamura Award.

Winners[edit]

Bold names indicate pitchers who met all seven criteria (limited to 1982 and later winners)

Hideo Fujimoto, when he won Eiji Sawamura Award in 1949.
Year Player Team Ref
1947 Bessho, TakehikoTakehiko Bessho Nankai Hawks
1948 Nakao, HiroshiHiroshi Nakao Yomiuri Giants
1949 Fujimoto, HideoHideo Fujimoto Yomiuri Giants
1950 Sanada, ShigeoShigeo Sanada Shochiku Robins
1951 Sugishita, ShigeruShigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1952 Sugishita, ShigeruShigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1953 Otomo, TakumiTakumi Otomo Yomiuri Giants
1954 Sugishita, ShigeruShigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1955 Bessho, TakehikoTakehiko Bessho Yomiuri Giants
1956 Kaneda, MasaichiMasaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1957 Kaneda, MasaichiMasaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1958 Kaneda, MasaichiMasaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1959 Murayama, MinoruMinoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
1960 Horimoto, RitsuoRitsuo Horimoto Yomiuri Giants
1961 Gondo, HiroshiHiroshi Gondo Chunichi Dragons
1962 Koyama, MasaakiMasaaki Koyama Hanshin Tigers
1963 Ito, YoshiakiYoshiaki Ito Yomiuri Giants
1964 Bacque, GeneGene Bacque Hanshin Tigers
1965 Murayama, MinoruMinoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
1966 Murayama, MinoruMinoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
Horiuchi, TsuneoTsuneo Horiuchi Yomiuri Giants
1967 Ogawa, KentaroKentaro Ogawa Chunichi Dragons
1968 Enatsu, YutakaYutaka Enatsu Hanshin Tigers
1969 Takahashi, KazumiKazumi Takahashi Yomiuri Giants
1970 Hiramatsu, MasajiMasaji Hiramatsu Taiyo Whales
1971 Not awarded
1972 Horiuchi, TsuneoTsuneo Horiuchi Yomiuri Giants
1973 Takahashi, KazumiKazumi Takahashi Yomiuri Giants
1974 Hoshino, SenichiSenichi Hoshino Chunichi Dragons
1975 Sotokoba, YoshiroYoshiro Sotokoba Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1976 Ikegaya, KojiroKojiro Ikegaya Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1977 Kobayashi, ShigeruShigeru Kobayashi Yomiuri Giants
1978 Matsuoka, HiromuHiromu Matsuoka Yakult Swallows
1979 Kobayashi, ShigeruShigeru Kobayashi Hanshin Tigers
1980 Not awarded
1981 Nishimoto, TakashiTakashi Nishimoto Yomiuri Giants
1982 Kitabeppu, ManabuManabu Kitabeppu Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1983 Endo, KazuhikoKazuhiko Endo Yokohama Taiyo Whales
1984 Not awarded
1985 Komatsu, TatsuoTatsuo Komatsu Chunichi Dragons
1986 Kitabeppu, ManabuManabu Kitabeppu Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1987 Kuwata, MasumiMasumi Kuwata Yomiuri Giants
1988 Ohno, YutakaYutaka Ohno Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1989 Saito, MasakiMasaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1990 Nomo, HideoHideo Nomo Kintetsu Buffaloes
1991 Sasaoka, ShinjiShinji Sasaoka Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1992 Ishii, TakehiroTakehiro Ishii Seibu Lions
1993 Imanaka, ShinjiShinji Imanaka Chunichi Dragons
1994 Yamamoto, MasahiroMasahiro Yamamoto Chunichi Dragons
1995 Saito, MasakiMasaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1996 Saito, MasakiMasaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1997 Nishiguchi, FumiyaFumiya Nishiguchi Seibu Lions
1998 Kawasaki, KenjiroKenjiro Kawasaki Yakult Swallows
1999 Uehara, KojiKoji Uehara Yomiuri Giants
2000 Not awarded
2001 Matsuzaka, DaisukeDaisuke Matsuzaka Seibu Lions
2002 Uehara, KojiKoji Uehara Yomiuri Giants
2003 Igawa, KeiKei Igawa Hanshin Tigers
Saito, KazumiKazumi Saito Fukuoka Daiei Hawks
2004 Kawakami, KenshinKenshin Kawakami Chunichi Dragons
2005 Sugiuchi, ToshiyaToshiya Sugiuchi Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2006 Saito, KazumiKazumi Saito Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2007 Darvish, YuYu Darvish Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
2008 Iwakuma, HisashiHisashi Iwakuma Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2009 Wakui, HideakiHideaki Wakui Saitama Seibu Lions
2010 Maeda, KentaKenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2011 Tanaka, MasahiroMasahiro Tanaka Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2012 Settsu, TadashiTadashi Settsu Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2013 Tanaka, MasahiroMasahiro Tanaka Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2014 Kaneko, ChihiroChihiro Kaneko Orix Buffaloes
2015 Maeda, KentaKenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2016 Johnson, KrisKris Johnson Hiroshima Toyo Carp [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]