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.

Eiji Sawamura with the Tokyo Kyojin.

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.[citation needed]

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 win–loss record, 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.[citation needed]

The selection committee usually consists of five former pitchers.[1]

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.[citation needed]

No pitcher was found to be sufficiently deserving of the award in 1971, 1980, 1984, 2000, and 2019.[1] The award has been presented to two pitchers in the same season twice (1966, 2003).[citation needed]

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 Takehiko Bessho Nankai Hawks
1948 Hiroshi Nakao Yomiuri Giants
1949 Hideo Fujimoto Yomiuri Giants
1950 Shigeo Sanada Shochiku Robins
1951 Shigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1952 Shigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1953 Takumi Otomo Yomiuri Giants
1954 Shigeru Sugishita Chunichi Dragons
1955 Takehiko Bessho Yomiuri Giants
1956 Masaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1957 Masaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1958 Masaichi Kaneda Kokutetsu Swallows
1959 Minoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
1960 Ritsuo Horimoto Yomiuri Giants
1961 Hiroshi Gondo Chunichi Dragons
1962 Masaaki Koyama Hanshin Tigers
1963 Yoshiaki Ito Yomiuri Giants
1964 Gene Bacque Hanshin Tigers
1965 Minoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
1966 Minoru Murayama Hanshin Tigers
Tsuneo Horiuchi Yomiuri Giants
1967 Kentaro Ogawa Chunichi Dragons
1968 Yutaka Enatsu Hanshin Tigers
1969 Kazumi Takahashi Yomiuri Giants
1970 Masaji Hiramatsu Taiyo Whales
1971 Not awarded
1972 Tsuneo Horiuchi Yomiuri Giants
1973 Kazumi Takahashi Yomiuri Giants
1974 Senichi Hoshino Chunichi Dragons
1975 Yoshiro Sotokoba Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1976 Kojiro Ikegaya Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1977 Shigeru Kobayashi Yomiuri Giants
1978 Hiromu Matsuoka Yakult Swallows
1979 Shigeru Kobayashi Hanshin Tigers
1980 Not awarded
1981 Takashi Nishimoto Yomiuri Giants
1982 Manabu Kitabeppu Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1983 Kazuhiko Endo Yokohama Taiyo Whales
1984 Not awarded
1985 Tatsuo Komatsu Chunichi Dragons
1986 Manabu Kitabeppu Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1987 Masumi Kuwata Yomiuri Giants
1988 Yutaka Ohno Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1989 Masaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1990 Hideo Nomo Kintetsu Buffaloes
1991 Shinji Sasaoka Hiroshima Toyo Carp
1992 Takehiro Ishii Seibu Lions
1993 Shinji Imanaka Chunichi Dragons
1994 Masahiro Yamamoto Chunichi Dragons
1995 Masaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1996 Masaki Saito Yomiuri Giants
1997 Fumiya Nishiguchi Seibu Lions
1998 Kenjiro Kawasaki Yakult Swallows
1999 Koji Uehara Yomiuri Giants
2000 Not awarded
2001 Daisuke Matsuzaka Seibu Lions
2002 Koji Uehara Yomiuri Giants
2003 Kei Igawa Hanshin Tigers
Kazumi Saito Fukuoka Daiei Hawks
2004 Kenshin Kawakami Chunichi Dragons
2005 Toshiya Sugiuchi Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2006 Kazumi Saito Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2007 Yu Darvish Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
2008 Hisashi Iwakuma Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2009 Hideaki Wakui Saitama Seibu Lions
2010 Kenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2011 Masahiro Tanaka Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2012 Tadashi Settsu Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
2013 Masahiro Tanaka Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
2014 Chihiro Kaneko Orix Buffaloes
2015 Kenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2016 Kris Johnson Hiroshima Toyo Carp [2]
2017 Tomoyuki Sugano Yomiuri Giants [3]
2018 Tomoyuki Sugano Yomiuri Giants [3]
2019 Not awarded [1]
2020 Yūdai Ōno Chunichi Dragons
2021 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes [3]
2022 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes [3]
2023 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes [4]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Coskrey, Jason (October 21, 2019). "No Sawamura winner named for 2019 season". The Japan Times.
  2. ^ Coskrey, Jason (October 24, 2016). "Carp's Johnson becomes second foreign-born Sawamura Award winner". The Japan Times.
  3. ^ a b c d "オリックス・山本由伸、2年連続で沢村賞受賞 史上6人目の快挙". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  4. ^ "山本、3年連続の沢村賞=史上2人目の快挙―プロ野球". Jiji Press. Retrieved October 31, 2023.