Orix Blue Wave

Orix Blue Wave

Orix Buffaloes
Established 1936
125px
Team logo

Cap Insignia
League affiliations
Current uniform
Colors Navy, Gold, White

              

Name
  • Hankyu (1936–1946)
  • Hankyu Braves (1947–1988)
  • Orix Braves (1989–1990)
  • Orix BlueWave (1991–2004)
  • Orix Buffaloes (2005–present)
Other nicknames
Ballpark
League titles
Japan Series titles (4) 1975, 1976, 1977, 1996
PL Pennants (12) 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1995, 1996
Owner(s): Orix
Manager: Hiroshi Moriwaki
General Manager:
2012 Orix Buffaloes season

The Orix Buffaloes (オリックス・バファローズ Orikkusu Bafarōzu?) are a Nippon Professional Baseball team based in Osaka and Kobe, Japan. They play in the Pacific League. The team is owned by the Orix Group, a leading diversified financial services company based in Tokyo.

The team was formed after the 2004 NPB season by the merger of the Orix BlueWave and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. The merged team began play in the 2005 NPB season, splitting its home games between the Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium, the former home of the BlueWave, in Kobe and the Kyocera Dome Osaka, that of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, in Osaka.

Franchise history

Hankyu/Orix, 1936-2004

The Hankyu Braves

The Orix BlueWave was founded in 1936 under the ownership of a Japanese railway company Hanshin Kyuko Railway Company (阪神急行電鉄 Hanshin Kyuko Dentetsu?, present: Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, Inc.), as Osaka Hankyu Baseball Club (大阪阪急野球協会 Ōsaka hankyū yakyū kyōkai?). Later nicknamed Hankyu Braves, it was one of the first Japanese professional baseball teams.

The Hankyu Braves were one of the strongest teams not only in the Pacific League but in all of Japan. Between 1967 and 1972, the Hankyu Braves won the Pacific League pennant five times, but lost the Japan Series each time against the Tokyo Giants. Manager Yukio Nishimoto was known as "the great manager in tragedy" because of those losses. But the Hankyu Braves won Japan Series three times in a row from 1975, against the Tokyo Giants in 1976 and 1977, led by manager Toshiharu Ueda. At that time many good players in Japanese Baseball history played for the Hankyu Braves.

In the 1980s, the team was still strong but lost the pennant to the Seibu Lions every year except 1984.

On October 19, 1988, Hankyu Railway sold the franchise to the lease company Orient Lease (since 1989 known as Orix Group). That was known as "the longest day of the Pacific League" because it was also the day when Kintetsu Buffaloes played the legendary double-header for the Pacific League pennant (but they could not have got the pennant because of a draw game). The deal had been done with two assurances: the team name would remain "Braves", and the franchise would stay in Nishinomiya. The sale was a surprise, because it was much rarer in those days in Japan for the ownership of a professional baseball team to change, not to mention for a large company to sell one of its parts; Hankyu Railway was thought of as one of the big companies that would never need to do such a thing.

The BlueWave

During the first two years of new ownership, the team was known as the Orix Braves and played in Nishinomiya. In 1991, the team became the Orix BlueWave, and moved to Kobe. Longtime fans were shocked by these changes. However, since Nishinomiya and Kobe are close to one another, and the new home field of the team was better than the old one, most fans accepted the move, although with some nostalgia for the historic "Braves" name. The team was sometimes called Aonami or Seiha (青波?) by fans and the baseball media, which means "blue wave" in Japanese.

Led by Ichiro Suzuki, in 1995 and 1996 the Orix BlueWave won the Pacific League pennant. In 1996, they also won the Japan Series.

Prominent and/or remarkable players

Kintetsu, 1950-2004

The Kintetsu Buffalo were the first Japanese team to sign an American player. They signed former major league pitcher Glenn Mickens and catcher Ron Bottler for the 1959 season. Mickens had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953 and Bottler had been a career minor league catcher in the United States.

2005 to present

Current roster

First squad Second squad

Pitchers

Catchers

  • 27 Takeshi Hidaka
  • 44 Fumihiro Suzuki
  • 45 Toshio Saitō
  • 4 Vinny Rottino

Infielders

Outfielders

  • 46 Takayoshi Kawabata
  • 53 Shingo Nonaka
  • 63 Issei Nakamura


Manager


Pitchers
  • 13 Kentarō Kuwahara
  • 14 Shuichi Furukawa
  • 121 Takuya Kai
  • 35 Motoki Higa
  • 29 Kei Igawa
  • 15 Tatsuya Satō
  • 11 Kazuki Kondō

Catchers

  • 37 Toshiya Tsuji
  • 67 Tetsuya Yokoyama
  • 22 Hikaru Itō
  • 49 Ryūji Shōji
Infielders
  •  3 Ryōichi Adachi
  • 30 Taiki Mitsumata
  • 62 Yūki Tsutsumi

Outfielders

  • 31 Hisao Arakane
  •  8 Shunta Gotō
  • 55 T-Okada
  •  9 Tomotaka Sakaguchi




Updated June 21, 2012


Baseball Hall of Famers

Elected mainly for Hankyu Braves service

Elected for service with other teams, as well as Hankyu and Orix

  • Hisashi Yamada, P, 1969-1988 (inducted 2006)
  • Hiromitsu Kadota, DH, 1989-1990 (inducted 2006)
  • Akira Ōgi, MGR 1988-1992†, 1994–2001, 2005 (inducted 2004)
  • Toshiharu Ueda, MGR, 1974–1978, 1981-1990 (inducted 2003)
  • Tetsuya Yoneda, P, 1956-1975 (inducted 2000)
  • Futoshi Nakanishi, Head coach / Hitting coach, 1985-1990†, 1995-1997 (inducted 1999)

†For Kintetsu Buffaloes Elected mainly for Kintetsu Buffaloes service

  • Keishi Suzuki, P, 1966-1985 (inducted 2002)
  • Yukio Nishimoto, MGR 1974-1981 (inducted 1988)

Former players and managers

as Orix Buffaloes

as Orix BlueWave

as Kintetsu (and Osaka Kintetsu) Buffaloes

as Hankyu (and Orix) Braves

Retired numbers

  • none

MLB player

Active:

Retired:

Mascots

until 2010
  • Neppie #111, a young boy
  • Ripsea #222, a young girl
since 2011
  • Buffalo Bull #111, a male buffalo, Bell's brother
  • Buffalo Bell #222, a female buffalo, Bull's sister

External links

  • (Japanese) ORIX Buffaloes