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Taiyō Whales

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Taiyō Whales

Yokohama DeNA BayStars
Established 1950
125px
Team logo

Cap Insignia
League affiliations
Current uniform
150px
Retired Numbers 100
Colors Blue, White
         
Name
  • Taiyo Whales (1950–1952)
  • Taiyo Shochiku Robins (1953)
  • Yosho Robins (1954)
  • Taiyo Whales (1955–1977)
  • Yokohama Taiyo Whales (1978–1992)
  • Yokohama BayStars (1993–2011)
  • Yokohama DeNA BayStars (2012–present)
Other nicknames
Ballpark
League titles
Japan Series titles (2) 1960, 1998
CL Pennants (2) 1960, 1998
Owner(s): DeNA Co., Ltd.
Manager: Kiyoshi Nakahata
General Manager: Shigeru Takada
2011 Yokohama BayStars season

The Yokohama DeNA BayStars (横浜DeNAベイスターズ Yokohama Dī-Enu-Ē Beisutāzu?) are a professional baseball team in the Japanese Central League. Their home field is the Yokohama Stadium, located in central Yokohama. The clubhouse is located near the stadium.

The team mascot is DB. Starman, a male-hamster with a star-shaped face. He was kept by the Hosshey family: Hosshey, Hossiena and Hossiezo. The siblings were the team mascots from 1993 until 2011 (Yokohama BayStars era).

The minor league team is named the Shonan Searex, and plays in the Eastern League. The minor league home field is Yokosuka Stadium, located in Yokosuka, Kanagawa.

The team's name has changed from: Taiyō Whales (大洋ホエールズ Taiyō Hoeeruzu?) (1950–1952), Taiyō-Shochiku Robins (大洋松竹ロビンス Taiyō Shōchiku Robinsu?) (1953), Yō-Shō Robins (洋松ロビンス Yō-Shō Robinsu?) (1954), Taiyō Whales (大洋ホエールズ Taiyō Hoeeruzu?) (1955–1977), Yokohama Taiyō Whales (横浜大洋ホエールズ Yokohama Taiyō Hoeeruzu?) (1978–1992), Yokohama BayStars (横浜ベイスターズ Yokohama Beisutāzu?) (1993–2011) to the current name, Yokohama DeNA BayStars, adopted in 2011.

History

Origin (1930s-1949)

The team began as the Taiyo Fishing Company, an amateur team currently affiliated with the Maruha Corporation (presently Maruha Nichiro). The team began to appear in national tournaments in the 1930s and won the National Sports Festival in 1948, giving it national recognition. In the 1949 off-season, the Japanese professional baseball league drastically expanded itself and many players from the Taiyo amateur team were recruited to join the professional leagues. The owner of the Taiyo company decided to join the newly expanded Central League, which was established in 1950. The team's first professional incarnation was as the Maruha Team. The franchise was based in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi.

Taiyo Whales (1950-1952)

The team name was changed to Taiyo Whales, shortly after the start of the 1950 season. The Whales received several veteran players from the Yomiuri Giants to compensate for their lack of players, but ended up in the bottom half of the standings each year.

In 1951, there was talk of merging with the Hiroshima Carp, which had experienced serious financial problems. Thankfully, the merging never occurred due to massive protests from Hiroshima citizens.

Taiyo Shochiku Robins (1953) and Yo-Sho Robins (1954)

In 1952, it was decided that teams 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 Taiyo Whales to become the Taiyo Shochiku Robins in January, 1953. However, the team's re-organization was not completed in time for the 1953 season, and the team ended up continuing its offices in both Shimonoseki and Kyoto. Home games took place in Osaka for geographical reasons, and the team's finances were managed by both the Taiyo and Shochiku companies until the franchise was officially transferred to Osaka in 1954 to become the Yō-Shō Robins.

The Shochiku Robins had won the 1950 Central League championship before being merged.

Taiyo Whales (1955-1977)

The Shochiku company discontinued its support in December, 1954, and the team name returned to Taiyo Whales. The franchise moved to Kawasaki, Kanagawa, and obtained an exclusive home field (Kawasaki Stadium), but ended up in last place six years in a row from 1954-1959.

In 1960, the team recruited Osamu Mihara, who had been manager of the Nishitetsu Lions the previous year. Mihara led the team to its first pennant in 1960, and swept the Pacific League champions in the Japanese championship series. The team had been in last place the previous year.

However, this success did not last long, and the team quickly fell back into last place in 1961. The Whales made a comeback in 1962, but trailed four games behind the Hanshin Tigers to end up in second place. They lost the league championship again to the Tigers in 1964, only one game (.008 winning percentage) away from first place.

The team produced countless star players during the 1970s, but rarely ended the season above the .500 mark. The small Kawasaki Stadium made the Whales one of the most offensively productive teams in Japanese baseball history, but a weak pitching staff, and lack of financial support put the team out of serious contention.

By 1976, the team had been planning on moving from Kawasaki to Yokohama, and support from the mayor of Yokohama allowed the team to gain financial support from the Kokudo Company. 55% of the team's share was retained by Taiyo, and the other 45% went to Kokudo.

Yokohama Taiyo Whales (1978-1992)

The Yokohama Stadium was newly created in Yokohama with the support of the Kokudo Company, and added the city into the team name to become the Yokohama Taiyo Whales in 1978. The Kokudo Company bought the Crown Lighter Lions in 1978, and sold its shares of the Whales team to the Nippon Broadcasting System and TBS. The Nippon Broadcasting System obtained 30% of the shares, and TBS bought 15%, while Taiyo kept its 55%. The team enjoyed far more popularity during this period than previous years, but continued to post only meager results in the standings, with their best placing being in 1979, when they finished second behind the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Yokohama BayStars (1993-2011)

In November, 1992, Taiyo changed its name to the Maruha Corporation, and renamed the team as the Yokohama BayStars. The BayStars were the last Japanese professional baseball team to not include the name of the parent company into the team name.

Originally, the team was going to be renamed the Yokohama Whales, but new restrictions on whaling convinced the company to drop the original name. Some superstitious fans had believed that dead whales put a curse onto the team (the Maruha Corporation was famous for its whale meat products), preventing the Whales from winning championships. In his visit to the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa remarked to former president Bill Clinton (who had proposed international restriction on whaling) that the Maruha Corporation's decision was reflective of Japan's change in attitude towards whaling.

The BayStars remained a non-contender during the early 1990s, but gradually assembled the players that would contribute to the team's championship in 1998. Akihiko Ohya became manager in 1996, and almost caught up to the Yakult Swallows in 1997, ending in second place. Hiroshi Gondo (a pitching coach the previous year) became manager in 1998, and the BayStars won their first league championship in 38 years in 1998, defeating the Seibu Lions to win the Japanese championship series. The team's consistent hitting, impeccable defense, (players from the BayStars won five golden glove awards in 1998) and solid pitching staff (rounded by closer Kazuhiro Sasaki) contributed to an epic 1998 season. The BayStars' offense in the '98 season became known as the "Machine Gun Offense" because of the quick succession of hits the Yokohama batters would get (mostly singles), and no game was ever over until the final out was recorded.

The team dropped to third place in 1999 despite having the best offense in Japan and also setting a league record for team batting average at .294, and has not been in serious contention for the championship ever since. In 2001, the Maruha Corporation sold its remaining shares to TBS, giving TBS full control of the team's finances. Akihiko Ohya returned in 2007 after leaving the team in 1997. In 2009 the team finished in the bottom of the league despite having a few young stars on the team like slugger Shuichi Murata and league batting champion Seiichi Uchikawa, and also having the pitching of Daisuke Miura and the signing of foreign star Ryan Glynn.

On May 18, 2009, The Baystars management announced that it has fired Ohya and appointed Tomio Tashiro as acting manager.

Yokohama DeNA BayStars (2012–present)

In 2011, the franchise was acquired by mobile game company DeNA. The name was changed to reflect this, and they changed their mascot from Hosshey to Starman, who wore the new jersey.

Managers

  • Tairiku Watanabe (渡辺大陸: 1950)
  • Haruyasu Nakajima (中島治康: 1951)
  • Giichi Arima (有馬義一: 1951)
  • Tokuro Konishi (小西得郎: 1952-1953)
  • Takeo Nagasawa (永沢武夫: 1954)
  • Isamu Fujii (藤井勇: 1955)
  • Masami Sakohata (迫畑正巳: 1956-1958)
  • Shigeo Mori (森茂雄: 1959)
  • Osamu Mihara (三原脩: 1960-1967)
  • Kaoru Betto (別当薫: 1968-1974)
  • Noboru Akiyama (秋山登: 1975-1976)
  • Kaoru Betto (別当薫: 1977-1979)
  • Kiyoshi Doi (土井淳: 1980-1981)
  • Junzo Sekine (関根潤三: 1982-1984)
  • Sadao Kondo (近藤貞雄: 1985-1986)
  • Takeshi Koba (古葉竹識: 1987-1989)
  • Yutaka Sudo (須藤豊: 1990-1992)
  • Akira Ejiri (江尻亮: 1992)
  • Akihito Kondo (近藤貞雄: 1993-1995)
  • Akihiko Ohya (大矢明彦: 1996-1997)
  • Hiroshi Gondo (権藤博: 1998-2000)
  • Masahiko Mori (森祇晶: 2001-2002)
  • Daisuke Yamashita (山下大輔: 2003-2004)
  • Kazuhiko Ushijima (牛島和彦: 2005-2006)
  • Akihiko Ohya (大矢明彦: 2007-2009)
  • Tomio Tashiro (田代富雄: 2009)
  • Takao Obana(尾花高夫: 2010-2011)
  • Kiyoshi Nakahata (中畑清: 2012-)

Former players

Taiyo Whales Era

  • Japan Makoto Matsubara - 1B (松原誠: 1962-80)
  • United States Ken Aspromonte - SS (ケン・アスプロモンテ: 1966)
  • Japan Masaji Hiramatsu - P (平松政次: 1967-84)
  • United States Clete Boyer - 3B (クリート・ボイヤー: 1972-75)
  • United States John Sipin - 2B (ジョン・シピン: 1972-77)
  • Japan Tomio Tashiro - 3B,1B (田代富雄: 1973-91)
  • Japan Daisuke Yamashita - SS (山下大輔: 1974-88)
  • Japan Akio Saitoh - P (斉藤明夫: 1977-93)

Yokohama Taiyo Whales Era

  • Puerto Rico Félix Millán - 2B (フェリックス・ミヤーン: 1978-1980)
  • Japan Kazuhiko Endoh - P (遠藤一彦: 1978-1992)
  • Japan Kaname Yashiki - CF (屋鋪要: 1978-1993)
  • Japan Yutaka Takagi - 2B, SS (高木豊: 1981-1993)
  • United States Jim Tracy - OF (ジム・トレイシー: 1983-1984)
  • United States Leon Lee - 3B (レオン・リー: 1983-1985)
  • Japan Hirokazu Katoh - LF (加藤博一: 1983-1990)
  • Puerto Rico Carlos Ponce - 1B (カルロス・ポンセ: 1986-1990)
  • United States Jim Adduci - 1B, RF (ジム・アドゥチ: 1987)
  • United States Jim Paciorek - 1B, LF (ジム・パチョレック: 1988-1991)
  • Japan Koki Morita - P (盛田幸妃: 1988-1997)
  • Japan Tatsuya Shindoh - SS, 3B (進藤達哉: 1988-2000)
  • Japan Hiroki Nomura - P (野村弘樹: 1988-2002)
  • Japan Motonobu Tanishige - C (谷繁元信: 1989-2001)
  • Japan Takuro Ishii - SS, 3B, P (石井琢朗: 1989-2008)
  • Japan Kazuhiro Sasaki - P (佐々木主浩: 1990-1999, 2004–2005)
  • United States Robert James Reynolds - RF (ロバート・レイノルズ: 1991-1992)
  • Japan Takashi Saito - P (斎藤隆: 1992-2005)
  • United States Larry Sheets - (ラリー・シーツ: 1992)

Yokohama BayStars Era

  • United States Glenn Braggs - RF (グレン・グラッグス: 1993-1996)
  • United States Robert Rose - 2B (ロバート・ローズ: 1993-2000)
  • Japan Takahiro Saeki - 1B,OF(佐伯貴弘: 1993-2010)
  • Japan Tomokazu Ohka - P (大家友和: 1994-1998)
  • Japan Norihiro Komada - 1B (駒田徳広: 1994-2000)
  • Japan Toshio Haru - CF (波留敏夫: 1994-2001)
  • Japan Tomo Ohka - P (大家友和: 1994-1998,2010-2011)
  • Japan Kazuo Fukumori - P (福盛和男:1995-2003)
  • Japan Hitoshi Tamura - CF (多村仁:1995-2006)
  • Japan Ryoji Aikawa - C (相川亮二:1995-2008)
  • Japan Takeo Kawamura - P (川村丈夫:1997-2008)
  • Japan Shinji Niinuma - C (新沼慎二: 1998-2012)
  • Japan Hitoshi Nakane - OF (中根仁:1998-2003)
  • United States Lou Merloni - 3B (ロウ・メローニ:2000)
  • Venezuela Rafael Betancourt - P (ラファエル・ベタンコート:2000)
  • Japan Satoru Komiyama - P (小宮山悟:2000-2001)
  • Japan Atsushi Kizuka - P (木塚敦志:2000-2010)
  • Japan Hitoshi Taneda - 2B (種田仁:2001-2007)
  • Japan Seiichi Uchikawa - 1B,OF (内川聖一:2001-2010)
  • Japan Shuichi Murata - 3B (村田修一: 2003-2011)
  • Japan Yuki Yoshimura - RF (吉村裕基: 2003-2012)
  • United States Steve Cox - 1B(スティーブ・コックス:2003)
  • United States Tyrone Woods - 1B (タイロン・ウッズ:2003-2004)
  • Japan Ken Kadokura - P (門倉健:2004-2006)
  • Japan Yoshihiro Doi - P (土肥義弘:2004-2008)
  • Japan Kazuya Fujita - 2B,SS (藤田一也: 2005-2012)
  • United States Marc Kroon - P (マーク・クルーン: 2005-2007)
  • United States Larry Bigbie - LF(ラリー・ビグビー: 2008)
  • Japan Yuya Ishii - P (石井裕也:2008-2010)
  • United States Stephen Randolph - P (スティーブン・ランドルフ: 2009-2010,2011)
  • United States Dan Johnson - 1B, 3B, LF (ダン・ジョンソン: 2009)
  • Venezuela Jose Castillo - 1B, 2B, OF (ホゼ・カスティーヨ: 2010)
  • United States Brett Harper - 1B (ブレット・ハーパー: 2010-2011)
  • United States Brent Leach - P (ブレント・リーチ: 2011)
  • United States Clayton Hamilton - P (クレイトン・ハミルトン: 2011-2012)
  • United States Brandon Mann - P (ブランドン・マン: 2011-2012)

Retired numbers

  • 100 (Team)

MLB Players

Active:

Retired:

Mascots


They have been represented by various star-themed characters such as:

  • Hosshey in 2010
  • Starman in 2012

See also

External links

  • (Japanese) Yokohama BayStars official website

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