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Pacific League
Pacific League Logo.png
SportBaseball
Founded1949
No. of teams6
CountryJapan
Most recent
champion(s)
Orix Buffaloes (14th pennant)
Most titlesSaitama Seibu Lions (23)

The Pacific League (パシフィック・リーグ, Pashifikku Rīgu) or Pa League (パ・リーグ, Pa Rīgu) is one of the two professional baseball leagues constituting Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship competes against the winner in the Central League for the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around Japan.

History

The circuit was founded as the Taiheiyo Baseball Union (太平洋野球連盟, Taiheiyo Yakyu Renmei) in 1949 (the name changing to its current form in 1980). Daiei Stars owner Masaichi Nagata was the first president of the Pacific League.[1]

The league began with seven teams: four holdovers from the previous iteration, the Japanese Baseball League — the Hankyu Braves, the Nankai Hawks, the Daiei Stars, and the Tokyu Flyers — and three new teams — the Kintetsu Pearls, the Mainichi Orions, and the Nishitetsu Clippers.

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). In their first season, the Unions finished 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 shrink from the ungainly seven-team arrangement to six teams.

Fujio Nakazawa, a former player and television commentator, became the PL's first full-time president in 1959, serving through 1965.[2]

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.

Beginning in 1975, the Pacific League began using the designated hitter (DH), as in the American League in Major League Baseball. During interleague play (adopted in 2005), the DH is used in Pacific League teams' home games.

After the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball season and, the Orix BlueWave and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes merged to form the Orix Buffaloes. A franchise was granted to internet shopping company Rakuten and the city of Sendai, forming the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to fill the void caused by the merger.

Also since 2004, a three-team playoff system was introduced in the Pacific League (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 a best-of-six final against the top team (the Pacific League pennant winner is granted a 1 game advantage in the Final Stage). The winner becomes the representative of the Pacific League to the Japan Series.

Since the Pacific League won every Japan Series after introducing this 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.

Current teams

Team Japanese Name Founded Founded (Current Name) Place Stadium Owner
Chiba Lotte Marines 千葉ロッテマリーンズ
Chiba Rotte Marīnzu
November 26, 1949[3] November 18, 1991[4] Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba ZOZO Marine Stadium Lotte
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 福岡ソフトバンクホークス
Fukuoka Sofutobanku Hōkusu
February 22, 1938 January 28, 2005[5] Chūō-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Fukuoka PayPay Dome SoftBank
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 北海道日本ハムファイターズ
Hokkaidō Nippon-Hamu Faitāzu
November 6, 1945 October 28, 2003[6] Kitahiroshima, Hokkaidō ES CON Field Hokkaido Nippon Ham
Orix Buffaloes オリックス・バファローズ
Orikkusu Bafarōzu
January 23, 1936 December 1, 2004[7] Nishi-ku, Osaka, Osaka Kyocera Dome Osaka
Hotto Motto Field
ORIX
Saitama Seibu Lions 埼玉西武ライオンズ
Saitama Seibu Raionzu
November 26, 1949 October 12, 1978[8] Tokorozawa, Saitama Belluna Dome Prince Hotels
Tōhoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルス
Tōhoku Rakuten Gōruden Īgurusu
November 2, 2004 November 2, 2004 Miyagino-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi Rakuten

Pacific League pennant winners

Year Team W L T Postseason Result
1950 Mainichi Orions 81 34 5 Won 1950 Japan Series 4-2 over the Shochiku Robins
1951 Nankai Hawks 72 24 8 Lost 1951 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1952 Nankai Hawks 76 44 1 Lost 1952 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1953 Nankai Hawks 71 48 1 Lost 1953 Japan Series 2-4-1 to the Yomiuri Giants
1954 Nishitetsu Lions 90 47 3 Lost 1954 Japan Series 3-4 to the Chunichi Dragons
1955 Nankai Hawks 99 41 3 Lost 1955 Japan Series 3-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1956 Nishitetsu Lions 96 51 7 Won 1956 Japan Series 4-2 over the Yomiuri Giants
1957 Nishitetsu Lions 83 44 5 Won 1957 Japan Series 4-0-1 over the Yomiuri Giants
1958 Nishitetsu Lions 78 47 5 Won 1958 Japan Series 4-3 over the Yomiuri Giants
1959 Nankai Hawks 88 42 4 Won 1959 Japan Series 4-0 over the Yomiuri Giants
1960 Daimai Orions 82 48 3 Lost 1960 Japan Series 0-4 to the Taiyō Whales
1961 Nankai Hawks 85 49 6 Lost 1961 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1962 Toei Flyers 78 52 3 Won 1962 Japan Series 4-2-1 over the Hanshin Tigers
1963 Nishitetsu Lions 86 60 4 Lost 1963 Japan Series 3-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1964 Nankai Hawks 84 63 3 Won 1964 Japan Series 4-3 over the Hanshin Tigers
1965 Nankai Hawks 88 49 3 Lost 1965 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1966 Nankai Hawks 79 51 3 Lost 1966 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1967 Hankyu Braves 75 55 4 Lost 1967 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1968 Hankyu Braves 80 50 4 Lost 1968 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1969 Hankyu Braves 76 50 4 Lost 1969 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1970 Lotte Orions 80 47 3 Lost 1970 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1971 Hankyu Braves 80 39 11 Lost 1971 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1972 Hankyu Braves 80 48 2 Lost 1972 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1973 Nankai Hawks 68 58 4 Lost 1973 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1974 Lotte Orions 69 50 11 Won 1974 Japan Series 4-2 over the Chunichi Dragons
1975 Hankyu Braves 64 59 7 Won 1975 Japan Series 4-0-2 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1976 Hankyu Braves 79 45 6 Won 1976 Japan Series 4-3 over the Yomiuri Giants
1977 Hankyu Braves 69 51 10 Won 1977 Japan Series 4-1 over the Yomiuri Giants
1978 Hankyu Braves 82 39 9 Lost 1978 Japan Series 3-4 to the Yakult Swallows
1979 Kintetsu Buffaloes 74 45 11 Lost 1979 Japan Series 3-4 to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1980 Kintetsu Buffaloes 68 54 8 Lost 1980 Japan Series 3-4 to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1981 Nippon-Ham Fighters 68 54 8 Lost 1981 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1982 Seibu Lions 68 58 4 Won 1982 Japan Series 4-2 over the Chunichi Dragons
1983 Seibu Lions 86 40 4 Won 1983 Japan Series 4-3 the Yomiuri Giants
1984 Hankyu Braves 75 45 10 Lost 1984 Japan Series 3-4 to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1985 Seibu Lions 79 45 6 Lost 1985 Japan Series 2-4 to the Hanshin Tigers
1986 Seibu Lions 68 49 13 Won 1986 Japan Series 4-3-1 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1987 Seibu Lions 71 45 14 Won 1987 Japan Series 4-2 over the Yomiuri Giants
1988 Seibu Lions 73 51 6 Won 1988 Japan Series 4-1 over the Chunichi Dragons
1989 Kintetsu Buffaloes 71 54 5 Lost 1989 Japan Series 3-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1990 Seibu Lions 81 45 4 Won 1990 Japan Series 4-0 over the Yomiuri Giants
1991 Seibu Lions 81 43 6 Won 1991 Japan Series 4-3 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1992 Seibu Lions 80 47 3 Won 1992 Japan Series 4-3 over the Yakult Swallows
1993 Seibu Lions 74 53 3 Lost 1993 Japan Series 3-4 to the Yakult Swallows
1994 Seibu Lions 76 52 2 Lost 1994 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
1995 Orix BlueWave 82 47 1 Lost 1995 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yakult Swallows
1996 Orix BlueWave 74 50 6 Won 1996 Japan Series 4-1 over the Yomiuri Giants
1997 Seibu Lions 76 56 3 Lost 1997 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yakult Swallows
1998 Seibu Lions 70 61 4 Lost 1998 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yokohama BayStars
1999 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks 78 54 3 Won 1999 Japan Series 4-1 over the Chunichi Dragons
2000 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks 73 60 2 Lost 2000 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
2001 Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 78 60 2 Lost 2001 Japan Series 1-4 to the Yakult Swallows
2002 Seibu Lions 90 49 1 Lost 2002 Japan Series 0-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
2003 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks 82 55 3 Won 2003 Japan Series 4-3 over the Hanshin Tigers
2004* Seibu Lions 74 58 1 Won 2004 Japan Series 4-3 over the Chunichi Dragons
2005* Chiba Lotte Marines 84 49 3 Won 2005 Japan Series 4-0 over the Hanshin Tigers
2006* Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 82 54 0 Won 2006 Japan Series 4-1 over the Chunichi Dragons
2007 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 79 60 5 Lost 2007 Japan Series 1-4 to the Chunichi Dragons
2008 Saitama Seibu Lions 76 64 4 Won 2008 Japan Series 4-3 over the Yomiuri Giants
2009 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 82 60 2 Lost 2009 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
2010 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 76 63 5 Lost 2010 Pacific League Climax Series 3-4 to the Chiba Lotte Marines
2011 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 88 46 10 Won 2011 Japan Series 4-3 over the Chunichi Dragons
2012 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 74 59 11 Lost 2012 Japan Series 2-4 to the Yomiuri Giants
2013 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 82 59 3 Won 2013 Japan Series 4-3 over the Yomiuri Giants
2014 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 78 60 6 Won 2014 Japan Series 4-1 over the Hanshin Tigers
2015 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 90 49 4 Won 2015 Japan Series 4-1 over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows
2016 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 87 53 3 Won 2016 Japan Series 4-2 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2017 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 94 49 0 Won 2017 Japan Series 4-2 over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars
2018 Saitama Seibu Lions 88 53 2 Lost 2018 Pacific League Climax Series 2-4 to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2019 Saitama Seibu Lions 80 62 1 Lost 2019 Pacific League Climax Series 1-4 to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2020 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 73 42 5 Won 2020 Japan Series 4-0 over the Yomiuri Giants
2021 Orix Buffaloes 70 55 18 Lost 2021 Japan Series 2-4 to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows
2022 Orix Buffaloes 76 65 2 Made 2022 Japan Series against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

*From 2004 to 2006 the winner of the play-offs was considered Pacific League Champion, afterwards the regular season champion again.

Pacific League statistics

Team First Second Third
Saitama Seibu Lions 23 12 15
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 19 17 7
Orix Buffaloes 14 15 8
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 7 8 15
Chiba Lotte Marines 5 9 14
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 4 9 8
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1 1 3
Daiei Unions 0 0 2
Takahashi Unions 0 0 0

Most Valuable Pitcher

See: Best Nine Award#Other notes

Best Nine Awards

Main article: Best Nine Award

See also

References

  1. ^ "Nagata, Masaichi". Hall of Famers List. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Nakazawa, Fujio," Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Japan). Accessed March 27, 2015.
  3. ^ 一般社団法人日本野球機構. "球団別インデックス | NPB.jp 日本野球機構". Npb.jp. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  4. ^ Mainichi Shimbun November 19, 1991, page 16 "Farewell Orions, Reborn Marines Lotte New Nickname Decision 210,000 After the Sea" Mainichi Shimbun Reduced Edition November 1991 p786
  5. ^ "SOFTBANK Announces New Management Structures of Fukuoka Softbank Hawks Corp and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks Marketing Corp".
  6. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun, August 6, 2003, page 17, "Nippon Ham New Company Establishment Meeting in Sapporo" Yomiuri Shimbun, August 2003, p275
  7. ^ "Orix Buffaloes up and running". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. December 2, 2004. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  8. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun October 1978, 10 evening edition 1st page "Lions (Crown Lighter) sold to Seibu Company for 1 billion yen" Yomiuri Shimbun reduced edition September 1978 p407