Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (福岡ソフトバンクホークス, Fukuoka Sofutobanku Hōkusu) are a Japanese professional baseball team based in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture. They compete in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) as a member of the Pacific League. Founded on February 22, 1938, as the Nankai Club, being the first Kansai team to play in Osaka proper, the team went through a few name changes before settling on Nankai Hawks in 1947, eventually changing ownership in 1988 and moving to Fukuoka in 1989. The team subsequently became known as the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks until 2005, when they were purchased by SoftBank Group, becoming the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Since 1993, the Hawks have played at Mizuho PayPay Dome Fukuoka, which has gone under several name changes and seats 40,000 people.[4]

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
福岡ソフトバンクホークス
Team logo Cap insignia
Information
LeagueNippon Professional Baseball
Pacific League (1950–present)
Japanese Baseball League (1938–1949)
LocationChūō-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Japan
BallparkMizuho PayPay Dome Fukuoka
FoundedFebruary 22, 1938; 86 years ago (1938-02-22)[3]
Nickname(s)Taka (鷹, hawk)
PL pennants19 (1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1973, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2020)
Japan Series championships11 (1959, 1964, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
JBL championships2 (1946, 1948)
Former name(s)
  • Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (1989–2004)
  • Nankai Hawks (1947–1988)
  • Kinki Great Ring (1946–1947)
  • Kinki Nippon Club (1944–1945)
  • Nankai Club (1938–1944)
Former ballparks
ColorsRevolution Yellow, Black, White, Grey[1]
       
MascotHarry Hawk and the Hawk Family
Playoff berths18 (1973, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023)
OwnershipMasayoshi Son, Yoshimitsu Goto
ManagementSoftBank Group, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Corp.[2]
ManagerHiroki Kokubo
General ManagerSugihiko Mikasa
PresidentSadaharu Oh
Websitesoftbankhawks.co.jp
Uniforms

The Hawks are often regarded as one of the most successful franchises in Pacific League and the richest in all of baseball under the ownership of SoftBank Group,[5] with the second most wins in all of Japanese sports, only trailing the Yomiuri Giants. The Hawks have played in the Japan Series 20 different times. The club also won two Japanese Baseball League championships in 1946 and 1948 while the team was based in Osaka. The Hawks' 11 Japan Series championships, including seven championships between 2011 and 2020, and 19 Pacific League pennants, with the most recent of both coming in 2020, are second-most in Pacific League and third-most in all of NPB, only trailing the Saitama Seibu Lions and Yomiuri Giants.

For various reasons, the Hawks experienced a 35 year title drought between 1964 and 1999 including a period of 26 years from 1973 to 1999 without a single Japan Series appearance, despite the relocation to Fukuoka. The drought finally ended in 1999, with gradual additions over the previous five years under new manager and home run king Sadaharu Oh. Under Oh (as manager and later executive), Daiei, and later SoftBank, the Hawks embraced internal development and sabremetrics as they eventually formed a baseball dynasty off of a core led by slugger Yuki Yanagita and aces Kodai Senga and Tsuyoshi Wada, capturing Japan Series titles in 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, making the Hawks first team since the 1965-1973 Yomiuri Giants to win more than three consecutive championships.[6]

Through 2023, the franchise's all-time record is 5616-5000-402 (.529).[7] The team's manager is Hiroki Kokubo and the organization's acting CEO is Yoshimitsu Goto [ja].

History edit

Nankai Electric Railway Company ownership (1938–1988) edit

The franchise that eventually became the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks was founded on February 22, 1938, by Nankai Electric Railway president Jinkichi Terada as Nankai Club, based in central Osaka. The organization was said to be created as a result of rival railway companies Hanshin Electric Railway and Hankyu convincing Nankai to create a baseball club of their own. While initially met with resistance, the club was admitted to the Japanese Baseball League (JPBL) in the fall of 1938, playing their first games at Sakai Ohama Stadium, but moved into Nakamozu Stadium in 1939. The team's name was changed to Kinki Nippon in mid-1944 as wartime austerity measures forced Nankai to temporarily merge with Kinki Nippon Railway. After the 1945 hiatus in the JBL due to the Greater East Asia War, in 1946 the team's name was changed to Kinki Great Ring and the team won the JBL championship. The name was chosen as a translation of Japan's ancient name, Yamato, in a similar way to the Montreal Canadiens or the New York Yankees.

In mid-1947, when Nankai broke away from Kinki Nippon Railway, they decided to change the team's name, also due to the fact that the name was popular with American soldiers stationed in Osaka, since they also found it funny, and settled upon the moniker they would use until they would sell the team in 1988 – Nankai Hawks (南海ホークス). The team was named after Nankai's logo, which, at that time, was a winged wheel. Other names considered were Condors, which was rejected because the Nankai representative who supervised the team was bald, and Cardinals, which was rejected because the club wanted to retain their colors, so they settled on the Hawks moniker.

After the JPBL was reorganized into Nippon Professional Baseball in 1950, the Hawks were placed into the Pacific League alongside the Mainichi Orions, Hankyu Braves, Tokyu Flyers, Daiei Stars, Nishitetsu Clippers, and Kintetsu Pearls. Under player-manager Kazuto Tsuruoka (known as Kazuto Yamamoto from 1946 to 1958) they became one of the most successful franchises through the first two decades of the Pacific League's existence, taking two Japan Series championships in 1959 and 1964, as well as 10 Pacific League pennants. Kazuto managed the team from 1946 to 1968, becoming the full-time manager after his retirement as a player in 1952.[8]

In 1964, the Hawks team sent pitching prospect Masanori Murakami and two other young players to the San Francisco Giants single-A affiliate in Fresno as a baseball "exchange student". On September 1 of that year, Murakami became the first Japanese player to play in Major League Baseball[9] when he appeared on the mound for the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium against the New York Mets. In his debut, Murakami pitched one inning, allowing one hit and facing four batters in a 1–4 loss for the Giants. Disputes over the rights to his contract eventually led to the 1967 United States – Japanese Player Contract Agreement, which effectively barred Japanese players from playing in MLB until Hideo Nomo exploited a loophole in the contract agreement to join the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995, although others had tried before, including pitcher Kunikazu Ogawa in 1979 for the Milwaukee Brewers and later Murakami himself attempted to return to the Giants in 1983, but both were cut in spring training.[10] Murakami returned to the Hawks in 1966, playing for them through 1974. He contributed to the team's 1973 Japan Series appearance, their last under Nankai's ownership.

The team fell on hard times between 1978 and 1988, finishing no better than 4th place out of the 6 teams in the Pacific League in any year in the period. The team witnessed its fan base diminish as a result of the prolonged period of poor play, with attendance dropping and the club dealing with reduced profits. One of their only stars during this time was player-manager Katsuya Nomura, was forced to leave the team after his wife having too much of a choosing on his management, forcing Nomura to either choose to leave his wife or leave the team, in which he chose the latter.

The change in the club's financial performance led Nankai Electric Railway to question the value of maintaining ownership, even after considering the value the team represented as an advertising tool. The company's board of directors and union leadership put pressure on Den Kawakatsu, then-president of Nankai Railway and primary owner of the team, to sell the team, which he refused to do. However, Kawakatsu, who represented the most ardent supporter of Nankai's ownership of the Hawks, died on April 23, 1988,[11] and the team was sold to the Daiei Corporation to become the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (福岡ダイエーホークス) after the 1988 season.

Katsuya Nomura, Mutsuo Minagawa, Hiromitsu Kadota, and Chusuke Kizuka are among the more notable franchise players that were active during the Nankai era.

Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (1988–2004) edit

After the franchise was acquired by department store chain Daiei, Inc., the Hawks were moved to Fukuoka for two reasons; the first being the fact that the city had gone a decade without a team in the area, as the Crown Lighter Lions moved to Tokorozawa to become the Seibu Lions in 1978, and the second was that Daiei was looking to expand their reach as a brand to Kyushu, which Daiei had little to no presence in before the acquisition. As a result, they were no longer competing with the Hanshin Tigers, Kintetsu Buffaloes or even the by-then rechristened Orix Braves (later the Orix Blue Wave, now the Orix Buffaloes) for a market share of the Greater Osaka metropolitan area. However, in spite of those efforts of the new ownership, the Hawks still were usually in the cellar of the Pacific League, and continued to be at the bottom half of the league until 1997. The Hawks would play their first four seasons in Fukuoka at the Lions' old home of Heiwadai Stadium.

In 1993, the Hawks moved out of Heiwadai Stadium and into the newly constructed Fukuoka Dome, now known as Mizuho PayPay Dome Fukuoka, located 2.2 kilometers northwest of Heiwadai Stadium's former grounds. Heiwadai Stadium would later be closed in November 1997 and fully demolished by 2008. The Fukuoka Dome would be the first retractable roof stadium in NPB and the only retractable roof stadium until 2023, when Es Con Field Hokkaido opened. However, due to inefficient design, high operating costs, and the rainy climate of Fukuoka, the roof is only opened on special occasions (i.e. on Children's Day and other holidays) when the weather is clear.[12] Since the Hawks moved to the Fukuoka Dome, they have led Pacific League in annual average attendance every single year except for 2021, where pandemic restrictions in Japan prevented them from reaching said goal.[13]

The Hawks front office adopted a strategy of drafting and developing younger players, supplemented by free agent signings, a policy overseen by team president Ryuzo Setoyama and his aides. Setoyama's most brilliant moves were the hiring of home run king Sadaharu Oh in 1995 to take the reins of manager, a title he would hold until 2008 before he moved into the general manager's position. As of 2022, Oh is still with the Hawks organization as a chairman of the Hawks' board of directors, and still engages with day-to-day operations of the team at the age of 82. Oh replaced then-manager Rikuo Nemoto, who was named team president and held that position until his death in 1999. Also tapped was Akira Ishikawa, a little-known former player, who was tasked with bringing in talented amateurs. He brought in the likes of former Hanshin Tigers catcher Kenji Johjima, Kazumi Saitoh, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, future Chicago White Sox and Chiba Lotte Marines infielder Tadahito Iguchi, shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, and future team captain and current manager Hiroki Kokubo.

Supplementing the amateur signings were some key free-agent acquisitions. Daiei went toe to toe with the then richest man in Japan, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, to pull former Seibu stars from their 1980s championship teams to Fukuoka. Among them were infielder Hiromichi Ishige, immensely popular outfielder (and Hawks manager from 2008 to 2014, replacing Oh in that capacity) Koji Akiyama, and ace left-handed pitcher and former manager Kimiyasu Kudoh.

These moves, alongside a few unpopular cost-cutting measures, helped to make the Hawks gradually more competitive with each passing year, and in 1999, the team finally broke through. That season, Daiei made their first Japan Series appearance since 1973 (and first as a Fukuoka team), and defeated the Chunichi Dragons in five games, giving them their first championship since 1964. Kudoh was dominant in his Game 1 start (complete game, 13 strikeouts), and Akiyama was named the 1999 Japan Series's most valuable player.

The following year, the Hawks again made the Japan Series, but this time lost to the powerful Yomiuri Giants in six games. Despite the shaky financial ground that Daiei was on thanks to their rampant expansion in bubble-era Japan, the team continued to be competitive. The team won their second Japan Series in five years, defeating the popular Hanshin Tigers in seven games in the 2003 Japan Series, a series in which the home team won every game.

Home run record controversy edit

In 2001, American Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes, playing for the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, hit 55 home runs with several games left, equaling Hawks' manager Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record. The Buffaloes played a weekend series against the Oh-managed Hawks late in the season, after already clinching the pennant on a walk-off grand slam against the Orix BlueWave on September 26. Rhodes was intentionally walked during each at-bat of the series. Video footage showed Hawks' catcher Kenji Johjima grinning as he caught the intentional balls. Oh denied any involvement and Hawks battery coach Yoshiharu Wakana stated that the pitchers acted on his orders, saying, "It would be distasteful to see a foreign player break Oh's record." Rhodes completed the season with 55 home runs. League commissioner Hiromori Kawashima denounced the Hawks' behavior as "unsportsmanlike", and Wakana would be fired from the position as a result. Hawks pitcher Keisaburo Tanoue went on record saying that he wanted to throw strikes to Rhodes, but didn't want to disrespect the orders of his catcher.[14][15]

In 2002, Venezuelan Alex Cabrera hit 55 home runs with five games left in the season, with several of those to be played against Oh's Hawks. Oh told his pitchers to throw strikes to Cabrera, but most of them ignored his order and threw balls well away from the plate, although this also had to do with Cabrera later on being revealed to have likely been on steroids, likely taken during his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks after having been named to the Mitchell Report in 2007, and that other pitchers were intentionally walking him. After the game, Oh stated, "If you're going to break the record, you should do it by more than one. Do it by a lot."[15] In the wake of the most recent incident involving Cabrera, ESPN listed Oh's single-season home run record as #2 on its list of "The Phoniest Records in Sports".[16]

Eventually, in 2013, Curaçaoan-Dutch Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the NPB single-season home run record, finishing the season with 60 home runs.[17] In 2022, Swallows infielder Munetaka Murakami broke Oh's record for the most home runs in a single season by a Japanese-born player, hitting 56 home runs in the regular season.[18]

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (2005–present) edit

Daiei had been under financial pressure to sell its stake in the team over the previous few years, with reports in 2003 suggesting the company would sell the team and the Fukuoka Dome. After filing for a bankruptcy reorganization provision in 2004, Daiei attempted to hold on to the team and held discussions with its primary lenders, including UFJ Bank, to see if it could find a way to retain the team, but ultimately the sale went through to SoftBank Group on January 28, 2005. SoftBank had been interested in owning a baseball team since 2002 and agreed to purchase all 14,432,000 of Daiei's shares in the team, which accounted for 98% of team ownership, for 15 billion yen.[19] This deal did not include the Fukuoka Dome and surrounding Hawks Town complex, which was sold in 2003 to Colony Capital and then later sold to an affiliate of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation in 2007. SoftBank initially decided to lease the rights to the Fukuoka Dome for 4.8 billion yen per year for 20 years, but they would eventually purchase the stadium from the GIC affiliate for 87 billion yen in March 2012, with the stadium being fully owned by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Marketing Corporation by July 1, 2015.[20]

The Hawks continued their winning ways after the sale of the team to SoftBank. Following the sale, the Hawks represented one of the richest teams in the world, with a player core still intact from the last years of the Daiei era. Particularly strong was the team's starting pitching behind Saitoh, Tsuyoshi Wada, Nagisa Arakaki, and Toshiya Sugiuchi. In 2005, the Hawks finished in first place during the regular season, but fell to the eventual Japan Series champions, the Chiba Lotte Marines in the second stage of the Climax Series. In 2006, a dramatic pennant race led to an even more exciting playoff run that ended in the Sapporo Dome at the hands of the eventual Japan Series Champions, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. Team manager Sadaharu Oh missed most of the 2006 season due to stomach cancer.

The Hawks' 2007 season was plagued by injuries and general ineffectiveness and inconsistency, leading to another 3rd-place finish and first-stage exit in the playoffs at the hands of the Marines. In 2008, though various injuries still affected the Hawks' bench (especially the bullpen), the club claimed its first Interleague title in June, winning a tiebreaker against the Hanshin Tigers. However, injuries caught up with them in the final month of the season, and the Hawks finished in last place with a 54–74–2 record. The finish represented their worst since 1996. Oh announced his transfer to a front office role at the end of the season, as former Hawk and fan favorite Koji Akiyama was named as his successor.

In 2009, the team cracked the playoffs once again on the backs of breakout seasons from surging starting pitcher D. J. Houlton, outfielder Yuya Hasegawa, Rookie of the Year Tadashi Settsu and another stellar season from ace Sugiuchi. However, the team still was unable to get out of the first stage, as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles ousted the Hawks in a 2-game sweep.

Team of the 2010s edit

The Hawks finally reclaimed the Pacific League regular season title in 2010 after a seven-year wait. The title came after a see-saw season in which the team recovered several times after extended losing streaks. Starting pitcher Wada, back from injury through much of the previous two seasons, was, along with fellow ace Sugiuchi, at his best. Wada set career highs in wins and games started. The reliable "SBM" relieving trio of Settsu, Brian Falkenborg, and Mahara limited opponent offenses late in games. The bullpen also benefited from the emergence of Keisuke Kattoh and Masahiko Morifuku, with the latter blossoming in the second half of the season.

The Hawks offense was largely composed of role players who seemed to take turns having big games and off days, and it was the team's speed that drove the team as the Hawks led the league in stolen bases in the regular season with 148, well ahead of their nearest challenger, who had 116. Yuichi Honda and Kawasaki combined to steal 89 bases. However, despite putting forward a strong group, the Hawks failed to make it to the Japan Series, losing to the Chiba Lotte Marines in six games in the Climax Series despite having a 3–1 series lead.

SoftBank won the Pacific League again in 2011, with a dominating season on all fronts. The offense was bolstered further by the acquisition of former Yokohama BayStars outfielder Seiichi Uchikawa, who led the league in batting average in 2011. Pitching from Sugiuchi, Wada and an excellent bounce-back season from Houlton also helped propel the team to the best record in NPB. After sweeping the Saitama Seibu Lions in the Pacific League Climax Series, the Hawks took on the Chunichi Dragons to win the Japan Series, a rematch of the 1999 Japan Series. The Dragons pushed SoftBank to the full seven games, but the Hawks shut out the Dragons 3–0 in the seventh game to win their first Japan Series since 2003.

The 2012 season started with losses for the Hawks. During the off season, they lost their star starters Tsuyoshi Wada (to the Baltimore Orioles), Toshiya Sugiuchi and D.J. Houlton (to Yomiuri Giants) through free agency. All star shortstop Munenori Kawasaki also left the team for the Seattle Mariners. Closer Takahiro Mahara would sit out the season through injury. To compensate for these losses, the team acquired outfielder Wily Mo Peña and starter Brad Penny from MLB, in addition to starter Kazuyuki Hoashi from the Lions. However, of the 3 major signings, only Peña made regular contributions. Hoashi and Penny made two starts combined in 2012, as Hoashi missed almost the entire season with an injury and Penny was released.

The team had to deal with their off season losses to their pitching staff from within the organization. Settsu was elevated to the team's ace, while young pitchers such as Kenji Otonari and Hiroki Yamada were given bigger roles. Nagisa Arakaki returned from long-term injury to join the rotation. However, new closer Falkenborg had to sit out most of the season through injury, eventually handing over the role to Morifuku. Arakaki could not regain his former numbers. In the end, the losses could not be mitigated. Despite a tailspin to end the season, the Hawks snuck into the Climax Series, finishing 3rd in the Pacific League regular season standings, one game over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, but eventually lost out to the pennant-winning Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the P.L. Climax Series Final Stage. The bright spark of the season came from rookie starter Shota Takeda, who went 8–1 with an ERA of 1.07.

In 2014 the Hawks won the Japan Series in five games over the Hanshin Tigers. Manager Koji Akiyama retired after the season, and the team named his former teammate Kimiyasu Kudo to succeed him. Under Kudoh's stewardship, SoftBank won for a second consecutive season in 2015 again in five games, this time over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Outfielder Yuki Yanagita won Pacific League MVP, the batting title, and a Triple 3 (.300 BA, 30 HR, 30 SB or better in all 3 categories).[21] It marked the first time since the Seibu Lions won three in a row from 1990 to 1992 that a team had won consecutive Japan Series championships.

After falling to Shohei Ohtani and the Fighters in 2016, the Hawks rebounded to win the 2017 Japan Series on the back of a dominating 94-49-0 season, their best season since 1959 in terms of winning percentage, in six games over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, in a series where the Hawks led 3–0, but were almost pushed to a seventh game.[22] The following year the Hawks also won the 2018 Japan Series against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in six games, making it back to back titles for a second time, and four out of the last five; the next year, they became the first team to win three straight Japan Series titles since the Seibu Lions did it from 1990 to 1992, by sweeping the Yomiuri Giants. Pitcher Kodai Senga would blossom into the team's ace over their run of six championships in seven seasons, as he also threw the team's first no-hitter since 1943 on September 6, 2019, against the Chiba Lotte Marines.[23]

2020s edit

In 2020, the Hawks won the 2020 Japan Series, again in a four game sweep over the Yomiuri Giants, becoming the first team to win more than three consecutive Japan Series titles since the Yomiuri Giants won the last of nine consecutive titles in 1973. They also became the first team in NPB history to sweep two Japan Series against the same opponent in back-to-back seasons. Most notably, Matt Moore pitched seven no-hit innings in Game 3 of that Japan Series as the Hawks came within one out of the first combined no-hitter in Japan Series play since Daisuke Yamai and Hitoki Iwase threw a combined perfect game for the Chunichi Dragons to end the 2007 Japan Series.

The Hawks ended an injury-riddled and underwhelming 2021 with a 60-62-21 record, finishing 4th in the Pacific League, the first time the team had not qualified for the playoffs since 2013. This also was the first time since 2008 that the Hawks failed to maintain a .500 winning percentage season, as manager Kimiyasu Kudoh stepped down after the conclusion of the 2021 season.[24]

Following Kudoh's departure, farm team manager Hiroshi Fujimoto was promoted to the majors to be the new manager for 2022. Yuki Yanagita was named team captain by Fujimoto, becoming the first team captain since Seiichi Uchikawa gave up the role after the 2018 season. The Hawks went on a tear to begin the season, winning eight straight games, with Fujimoto being the first new manager to win seven consecutive games, and the first time since 1955 that the Hawks won eight straight games to open the season.[25] A solid spring, including a Maddux no-hitter by Nao Higashihama on May 12 against the Saitama Seibu Lions,[26] followed by a less than ideal summer filled with ups and downs, including going 1–9 in their annual Hawk Festival series and being the first team since the 1995 Seibu Lions to be no-hit by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, led to the Hawks losing the pennant race to the Orix Buffaloes via tiebreaker after the Hawks lost to the Chiba Lotte Marines on the final day of the season, with both teams finishing with a record of 76-65-2. This marked the first time the top two teams in a league shared the exact same record in NPB history at the conclusion of the regular season, resulting in a tiebreaker being necessary. The Hawks lost the overall regular season series against Orix, as the Buffaloes won 15 games against them in comparison to SoftBank's 10 wins, resulting in Orix taking the 2022 Pacific League pennant.[27] They would eventually fall to the Buffaloes in the second stage of the Climax Series, breaking an eighteen game playoff winning streak in the process.

On October 10, 2022, the Hawks announced the formation of a yon-gun squad (third farm team), becoming the first team in NPB to begin operations on a third farm team, beginning play in 2023.[28] Before the 2023 season, the Hawks added to their already loaded core in response to losing ace Kodai Senga to the New York Mets[29] by signing elite contact hitter Kensuke Kondoh to a 7-year deal from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, poaching elite reliever Roberto Osuna away from the Chiba Lotte Marines,[30] and signing Kohei Arihara after a failed stint with the Texas Rangers.[31] Despite these additions and Kondoh breaking out for a near Triple Crown season, only losing it out to Yuma Tongu also having a breakout campaign and winning the 2023 Pacific League Batting Title, the Hawks were hampered by a lack of foreign power and subpar pitching, being unable to climb the mountain and settled for a third place finish in Pacific League, losing out on second on the final day of regular season play, the second year in a row where they lost position on the final day of the regular season. Eventually, they would fall short, losing to the Marines in the 1st Stage of the Pacific League Climax Series. After that, it was announced that Fujimoto was to step down as manager due to health concerns, and was replaced by the club's farm team manager Hiroki Kokubo. The Hawks once again were active in the 2023-24 off-season, trading pitchers Keisuke Izumi and Rei Takahashi for Yomiuri Giants slugger Adam Walker,[32] acquiring first baseman slugger Hotaka Yamakawa after a scandal tarnished his image with the Lions, and extended foreign pitchers Liván Moinelo and Carter Stewart to long-term, record setting deals,[33][34] as well as converting Moinelo from a reliever to a starter to bolster their lackluster pitching.

Roster edit

First squad Second squad

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

Head coach
Pitching
Hitting
Infield defense & base running
Outfield defense & base running
Battery
Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

Pitching
Hitting
Infield defense & base running
Outfield defense & base running
Battery
Rehabilitation coach
Coordinator
Training
Development Players
Updated May 1, 2024 All NPB rosters


Former players edit

Hawks former players edit

Hawks former players
DS FS Former players Country YR Era Pos Note
1938 1942 Yoshiyuki Iwamoto   Japan 5 Nankai OF Pacific League Best Nine Award (1950,1951)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1939 1952 Kazuto Tsuruoka   Japan 4 Nankai IF JBL & Pacific League MVP Award (1946,1948,1951)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1942 1948 Takehiko Bessho   Japan 7 Nankai P Eiji Sawamura Award (1947)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1949 1953 Kazuhiro Kuroda   Japan 5 Nankai OF
1950 1959 Kazuo Kageyama   Japan 10 Nankai 3B Pacific League Best Nine Award (1951,1952)
1954 1971 Mutsuo Minagawa   Japan 18 Nankai P Pacific League Best Nine Award (1968)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1954 1977 Katsuya Nomura   Japan 23 Nankai C NPB Triple Crown Award (1965)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1955 1977 Yoshinori Hirose   Japan 23 Nankai SS Pacific League Best Nine Award (1963–1965)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1956 1968 Yoshio Anabuki   Japan 13 Nankai OF
1958 1970 Tadashi Sugiura   Japan 13 Nankai P Pacific League MVP Award (1959)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1960 1965 Joe Stanka   United States 6 Nankai P Pacific League Best Nine Award (1964)
Japan Series MVP (1964)
1961 1963 Buddy Peterson   United States 3 Nankai SS Former MLB player.
NPB All-Star Series (1962,1963)
1962 1967 Kent Hadley   United States 6 Nankai 1B
1962
& 1966
1963
& 1974
Masanori Murakami   Japan 17 Nankai P First Asian MLB player.
San Francisco Giants (19641965)
1964 1964 Johnny Logan   United States 1 Nankai SS Former MLB player.
1967 1970 Toshio Yanagida   Japan 4 Nankai OF NPB All-Star Series (1968)
1968 1968 Marty Keough   United States 1 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1969 1969 Lee Thomas   United States 1 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1970 1977 Don Blasingame   United States 8 Nankai IF
1970 1973 Clarence Jones   United States 4 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
Pacific League Home runs Leader (1974,1976)
1970
& 1991
1988
& 1992
Hiromitsu Kadota   Japan 21 Nankai/Daiei OF Pacific League MVP Award (1988)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1970 1972 Takashi Teraoka   Japan 3 Nankai OF
1971 1971 Thad Tillotson   United States 1 Nankai P
1972 1975 Takenori Emoto   Japan 4 Nankai P
1972 1973 Willie Smith   United States 2 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1972 1981 Shinsaku Katahira   Japan 10 Nankai IF, OF
1973 1976 Hiroaki Fukushi   Japan 4 Nankai P Pacific League Winning percentage Leader (1980)
1974 1974 Wes Parker   United States 1 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
MLB Gold Glove Award (1967–1972)
1975 1985 Hiromasa Arai   Japan 11 Nankai OF Pacific League Batting Leader (1987)
Pacific League Best Nine Award (1979,1982,1986,1987)
1975 1975 Jim Nettles   United States 1 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1976 1976 Don Buford   United States 1 Nankai IF Pacific League Best Nine Award (1974)
1976 1977 Yutaka Enatsu   Japan 2 Nankai P Eiji Sawamura Award (1968)
Pacific League Saves Leader (1977,1979–1983)
1976 1976 Tom Robson   United States 1 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
1977 1977 Gail Hopkins   United States 1 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
1977 1977 Jack Pierce   United States 1 Nankai 1B Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1978 1981 Carlos May   United States 4 Nankai OF
1978 1985 Mitsuo Tateishi   Japan 8 Nankai IF
1978 1978 Bobby Tolan   United States 1 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1979 1980 Frank Ortenzio   United States 2 Nankai OF
1980 1989 Nobuyuki Kagawa   Japan 10 Nankai/Daiei C Also known as Dokaben
1981 1982 Jim Tyrone   United States 2 Nankai OF Former MLB player.
1982 1998 Hiroshi Fujimoto   Japan 17 Nankai/Daiei 3B
1983 1996 Hiroshi Ogawa   Japan 14 Nankai/Daiei SS
1984 1985 Jeff Doyle   United States 2 Nankai 2B Former MLB player.
Pacific League Home runs Leader (1974,1976)
1984 1995 Shinichi Katoh   Japan 12 Nankai/Daiei P
1984 1986 Chris Nyman   United States 3 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
1984 1993 Makoto Sasaki   Japan 10 Nankai/Daiei OF Pacific League Batting Leader (1992)
Pacific League Best Nine Award (1991–1995,1997)
1986 1986 Danny Goodwin   United States 1 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
1986 1987 Dave Hostetler   United States 2 Nankai 1B Former MLB player.
1987 1987 Steve Hammond   United States 1 Nankai OF
1987 1987 Hideji Katoh   Japan 1 Nankai OF Pacific League Batting Leader (1973,1979)
Pacific League RBI leader (1975–1976 ,1979)
1987 1991 Hiroyuki Mori   Japan 5 Nankai/Daiei C
1987 1996 Hiroshi Moriwaki   Japan 10 Nankai/Daiei IF
1988 1990 Tony Bernazard   Puerto Rico 3 Nankai/Daiei 2B
1988 2006 Noriyoshi Omichi   Japan 19 Nankai/Daiei
/SoftBank
OF NPB All-Star Series (2001,2004)
1988
& 1993
1988
& 1993
George Wright   United States 2 Nankai/Daiei OF
1988 1998 Toyohiko Yoshida   Japan 11 Nankai/Daiei P Pacific League Best Battery Award (1994)
1988 2000 Koichiro Yoshinaga   Japan 13 Nankai/Daiei C Pacific League Best Nine Award (1994,1996)
1989 1990 Willie Upshaw   United States 2 Daiei 1B
1990 1993 Toshifumi Baba   Japan 4 Daiei 3B Mitsui Golden Glove Award (1995,1996)
1990 1990 Goose Gossage   United States 1 Daiei P National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
1990 2000 Takayuki Nishijima   Japan 11 Daiei OF
1990 1997 Manabu Saito   Japan 8 Daiei P
1990 2007 Keisaburo Tanoue   Japan 18 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Winning percentage Leader (2001)
1990 1990 Jim Wilson   United States 2 Daiei 1B Former MLB player.
1991 1997 Yutaka Ashikaga   Japan 7 Daiei P
1991 2003 Koji Bonishi   Japan 13 Daiei C
1991 1996 Takayoshi Eguchi   Japan 6 Daiei P
1991 1992 Mike Laga   United States 2 Daiei 1B Former MLB player.
1991
& 2009
2009
& 2010
Arihito Muramatsu   Japan 14 Daiei/SoftBank OF Pacific League Stolen bases Leader (1996)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2003,2004)
1991 1995 Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi   Japan 5 Daiei P Central League The most wins champion (2005)
1991 1993 Lee Tunnell   United States 3 Daiei P
1991 1992 Eddie Williams   United States 2 Daiei 3B Former MLB player.
1992 2001 Chihiro Hamana   Japan 10 Daiei SS NPB All-Star Series (1992,1995,1996)
1992 1992 Hisao Niura   Japan 2 Daiei P Central League ERA champion (1977, 1978)
Central League Best Nine Award (1978)
1992 1995 Kazuya Tabata   Japan 4 Daiei P
1992 2002 Kenichi Wakatabe   Japan 11 Daiei P Pacific League Rookie Special Award (1992)
NPB All-Star Series (2002)
1992 1992 Boomer Wells   United States 1 Daiei 1B Pacific League Batting Leader (1984,1989)
Pacific League RBI Leader (1984,1987,1989,1992)
1993 1995 Shinichi Sato   Japan 3 Daiei OF
1994 2002 Koji Akiyama   Japan 9 Daiei OF Pacific League Home runs Leader (1987)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1994
& 2007
2003
& 2012
Hiroki Kokubo   Japan 16 Daiei/SoftBank IF Pacific League Home runs Leader (1995)
Pacific League RBI Leader (1997)
1994 1997 Hiromi Matsunaga   Japan 4 Daiei IF Pacific League Stolen bases Leader (1985)
Pacific League Best Nine Award (1988-1991,1994)
1994 1995 Kevin Reimer   United States 2 Daiei OF
1994 1995 Bobby Thigpen   United States 2 Daiei P Former MLB single season saves holder.
1994 1994 Brian Traxler   United States 1 Daiei 1B
1994 1997 Tomoyuki Uchiyama   Japan 4 Daiei P
1994 2001 Hidekazu Watanabe   Japan 8 Daiei P Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award (1994)
1994 2006 Shuji Yoshida   Japan 13 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Holds Leader (1998,2001)
1994 2006 Shintaro Yoshitake   Japan 13 Daiei/SoftBank P NPB All-Star Series (2005)
1995 2000 Masao Fujii   Japan 6 Daiei P Pacific League Holds Leader (1999)
His number 15 is honored by the Hawks.
1995 1996 Hiromichi Ishige   Japan 2 Daiei SS Pacific League Best Nine Award (1981-1987,1992,1993)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (1981-1983,1985-1988,1991,1993)
1995 2005 Kenji Johjima   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank C Former MLB player.
Pacific League MVP Award (2003)
1995 1999 Kimiyasu Kudo   Japan 5 Daiei P Pacific League ERA Champion (1985,1987,1993,1999)
Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Member
1995 1995 Kevin Mitchell   United States 1 Daiei OF Former MLB player.
Silver Slugger Award (1989)
1996 1997 Masashi Arikura   Japan 2 Daiei P
1996 1996 Rodney Bolton   United States 1 Daiei P Former MLB player.
1996 1999 Ryo Kawano   Japan 4 Daiei 1B
1996 1997 José Núñez   Dominican Republic 2 Daiei P
1996 2010 Kazumi Saito   Japan 15 Daiei/SoftBank P Eiji Sawamura Award (2003,2006)
NPB Triple Crown (2006)
1996 2002 Masahiro Sakumoto   Japan 7 Daiei P
1996 1998 Kazuhiro Takeda   Japan 3 Daiei P Pacific League The most wins champion (1998)
Pacific League Saves Leader (1991)
1997 2004 Tadahito Iguchi   Japan 8 Daiei IF Former MLB player.
Pacific League Stolen bases Leader (2001,2003)
1997 2007 Shinji Kurano   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank P
1997 2015 Nobuhiko Matsunaka   Japan 19 Daiei/SoftBank 1B NPB Triple Crown Award (2004)
Pacific League MVP Award (2000,2004)
1997 1997 Rod Nichols   United States 1 Daiei P Former MLB player.
1997 2006 Katsunori Okamoto   Japan 10 Daiei/SoftBank P
1997 1997 Greg Pirkl   United States 1 Daiei 1B Former MLB player.
1997 2011 Hiroshi Shibahara   Japan 15 Daiei/SoftBank OF Pacific League Best Nine Award (1998,2000)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2000,2001,2003)
1997 1997 Fujio Tamura   Japan 1 Daiei C Pacific League Best Nine Award (1993)
1997 1997 David West   United States 1 Daiei P
1998 1998 Ryan Hancock   United States 1 Daiei P
1998 1999 Shintaro Yamasaki   Japan 2 Daiei P
1998 2002 Hiroshi Nagadomi   Japan 5 Daiei P
1998 2008 Junji Hoshino   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank P
1998 1998 Luis Lopez   United States 1 Daiei 1B Central League RBI Leader (1996,1997)
Central League Hitting Leader (1997)
1998 2005 Tomohiro Nagai   Japan 8 Daiei/SoftBank P 1999 Japan Series Outstanding Player Award
1998 2001 Tatsuji Nishimura   Japan 4 Daiei P NPB Comeback Player of the Year Award (1998)
1998
& 2003
2002
& 2005
Takashi Sasagawa   Japan 18 Daiei/SoftBank IF
1998 2009 Takayuki Shinohara   Japan 12 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Winning percentage Leader (1999)
1998 1998 Ryan Thompson   United States 1 Daiei OF
1998 1998 Brian Williams   United States 1 Daiei P Former MLB player.
1999 2005 Yudai Deguchi   Japan 7 Daiei/SoftBank OF
1999 2000 Melvin Nieves   Puerto Rico 2 Daiei OF
1999 2010 Akio Mizuta   Japan 12 Daiei/SoftBank P
1999 2012 Shinsuke Ogura   Japan 14 Daiei/SoftBank P
1999 2002 Rodney Pedraza   United States 4 Daiei P Pacific League Saves Leader (2000,2001)
1999 2006 Yusuke Torigoe   Japan 8 Daiei/SoftBank IF
1999 2008 Ryo Yoshimoto   Japan 10 Daiei/SoftBank IF
2000 2000 Brian Banks   United States 1 Daiei 1B
2000
& 2017
2011
& 2017
Munenori Kawasaki   Japan 13 Daiei/SoftBank IF Former MLB player. Currently with Tochigi Golden Braves
Pacific League Hits Leader (2004)
Pacific League stolen base Leader (2004)
2000 2009 Naoki Matoba   Japan 10 Daiei/SoftBank C Pacific League Best Battery Award (2006)
2000 2002 Brady Raggio   United States 3 Daiei P
2000 2000 Matt Randel   United States 1 Daiei P
2001 2010 Hisao Arakane   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank OF
2001 2001 Chris Haney   United States 1 Daiei P
2001 2004 Pedro Valdés   Puerto Rico 4 Daiei OF He scored a 104 RBIs. (2003)
2001 2008 Michinao Yamamura   Japan 8 Daiei/SoftBank P
2001 2013 Katsuki Yamazaki   Japan 13 Daiei/SoftBank C
2002 2002 Morgan Burkhart   United States 1 Daiei 1B
2002 2002 Carlos Castillo   United States 1 Daiei P Former MLB player.
2002 2010 Shotaro Ide   Japan 9 Daiei/SoftBank OF
2002 2012 Yasushi Kamiuchi   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank P
2002 2011 Toshiya Sugiuchi   Japan 10 Daiei/SoftBank P Eiji Sawamura Award (2005)
Pacific League MVP Award (2005)
2002
& 2013
2006
& 2018
Hayato Terahara   Japan 11 Daiei/SoftBank P
2002 2005 Masanori Taguchi   Japan 4 Daiei/SoftBank C
2003 2014 Nagisa Arakaki   Japan 12 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Strikeouts Leader (2004)
2003 2004 Brandon Knight   United States 2 Daiei P
2003 2003 Bryant Nelson   United States 1 Daiei 2B
2003 2003 Matt Skrmetta   United States 1 Daiei P
2003 2003 Chen Wen-bin   Taiwan 1 Daiei OF
2003 2006 Julio Zuleta   Panama 4 Daiei/SoftBank 1B Pacific League Best Nine Award (2005)
2004 2022 Kenji Akashi   Japan 19 Daiei/SoftBank IF NPB All-Star Series (2012)
Japan Series Outstanding Player Award (2015)
2004 2005 Lindsay Gulin   United States 2 Daiei/SoftBank P
2004
& 2012
2010
& 2016
Keisuke Kaneko   Japan 12 Daiei/SoftBank IF
2004 2018 Ryuma Kidokoro   Japan 15 Daiei/SoftBank OF
2004 2012 Takahiro Mahara   Japan 9 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Saves Leader (2007)
2004 2004 Héctor Mercado   Puerto Rico 1 Daiei P Former MLB player.
2004 2010 Koji Mise   Japan 7 Daiei/SoftBank P Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award (2004)
Pacific League Saves Leader (2004)
2004 2006 Katsuhiko Miyaji   Japan 3 Daiei/SoftBank OF Pacific League Best Nine Award (2005)
2004 2004 Brad Voyles   United States 1 Daiei P
2005 2005 Tony Batista   Dominican Republic 1 SoftBank 3B Former MLB player.
2005 2006 Jolbert Cabrera   Colombia 2 SoftBank 2B Former MLB player.
2005 2019 Tomoaki Egawa   Japan 15 SoftBank OF
2005 2005 Pedro Feliciano   Puerto Rico 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2005 2006 Tatsuya Ide   Japan 2 SoftBank OF Mitsui Golden Glove Award (1997, 2002)
NPB All-Star Series (1997,2001)
2005 2008 Naoyuki Ohmura   Japan 4 SoftBank OF Pacific League Hitting Leader (2006)
2005 2011 Toru Takahashi   Japan 7 SoftBank P
2006 2010 Yuta Arakawa   Japan 5 SoftBank C
2006 2006 D. J. Carrasco   United States 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2006 2013 Yoshiaki Fujioka   Japan 8 SoftBank P
2006 2018 Yuichi Honda   Japan 13 SoftBank 2B Pacific League Stolen bases Leader (2010,2011)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2011‐2012)
2006 2013 Keisuke Katto   Japan 8 SoftBank P
2006 2011 Yusuke Kosai   Japan 6 SoftBank OF
2006 2022 Nobuhiro Matsuda   Japan 17 SoftBank 3B Pacific League Best nine Award (2018)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2011,2013‐2019)
2006 2009 Michitaka Nishiyama   Japan 4 SoftBank P
2006 2013 Hidenori Tanoue   Japan 8 SoftBank C Pacific League Best Nine Award (2009)
2006 2016 Akihiro Yanase   Japan 11 SoftBank P
2006 2013 Yang Yao-hsun   Taiwan 8 SoftBank P
2007 2007 Brian Buchanan   United States 1 SoftBank OF Former MLB player.
2007 2019 Shuhei Fukuda   Japan 13 SoftBank OF
2007 2008 Rick Guttormson   United States 2 SoftBank P
2007 2021 Yuya Hasegawa   Japan 15 SoftBank OF Pacific League Batting Leader (2013)
Pacific League Hitting Leader (2013)
2007 2007 Adam Hyzdu   United States 1 SoftBank OF
2007 2016 Masahiko Morifuku   Japan 10 SoftBank P NPB All-Star Series (2011.2012)
2007 2008 C. J. Nitkowski   United States 2 SoftBank P
2007 2017 Kenji Otonari   Japan 11 SoftBank P NPB All-Star Series (2012)
2007
& 2014
2008
& 2015
Jason Standridge   United States 4 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2007 2021 Hiroaki Takaya   Japan 15 SoftBank C
2007 2012 Hitoshi Tamura   Japan 6 SoftBank OF Pacific League Best Nine Award (2010)
2007 2017 Hiroki Yamada   Japan 11 SoftBank P
2008 2021 Sho Iwasaki   Japan 14 SoftBank P Pacific League Holds Leader (2017)
Currently with Chunichi Dragons
2008 2011 D. J. Houlton   United States 4 SoftBank P Pacific League The Most Wins Champion (2011)
2008 2008 Tetsuya Matoyama   Japan 1 SoftBank C
2008 2015 Shota Oba   Japan 8 SoftBank P
2008 2008 Jeremy Powell   United States 1 SoftBank P
2008 2008 Michael Restovich   United States 1 SoftBank OF
2009 2009 Chris Aguila   United States 1 SoftBank OF
2009 2013 Brian Falkenborg   United States 4 SoftBank P Pacific League Best relief pitcher (2010)
2009 2009 Justin Germano   United States 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2009 2009 Kameron Loe   United States 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2009 2015 Kim Mu-young   South Korea 7 SoftBank P
2009 2021 Akira Niho   Japan 13 SoftBank P Currently with Hanshin Tigers
2009 2011 José Ortiz   Dominican Republic 3 SoftBank 2B
2009 2018 Tadashi Settsu   Japan 10 SoftBank P Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award (2009)
Eiji Sawamura Award (2012)
2009 2012 Soichiro Tateoka   Japan 4 SoftBank OF Currently with Yomiuri Giants
2009 2016 Shingo Tatsumi   Japan 8 SoftBank P
2010 2010 Lee Bum-ho   South Korea 1 SoftBank 3B
2010 2010 J. D. Durbin   United States 1 SoftBank P
2010 2013 Takehito Kanazawa   Japan 4 SoftBank P
2010 2021 Hiroyuki Kawahara   Japan 12 SoftBank P
2010 2010 Roberto Petagine   Venezuela 1 SoftBank 1B Central League Home runs Leader (1999,2001)
Central League MVP Award (2001)
2010 2011 Masaumi Shimizu   Japan 2 SoftBank C
2010 2012 Teruaki Yoshikawa   Japan 3 SoftBank P
2011 2016 Edison Barrios   Venezuela 6 SoftBank P
2011 2011 Yhency Brazobán   Dominican Republic 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2011 2012 Alex Cabrera   Venezuela 2 SoftBank 1B Pacific League Home runs Leader (2002)
Pacific League MVP Award (2002)
2011 2011 Soichi Fujita   Japan 1 SoftBank P Pacific League Hold Champion (2000)
NPB All-Star Series (2001)
2011 2016 Toru Hosokawa   Japan 6 SoftBank C Pacific League Best Nine Award (2008,2011)
Mitsui Golden Glove Award (2008,2011)
2011 2011 Anthony Lerew   United States 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2011 2022 Kodai Senga   Japan 12 SoftBank P Pacific League strikeout leader. (2019,2020)
Pacific League ERA leader. (2020).
Pacific League winning percentage leader.(2017)
Pacific League wins champion. (2020).
Currently with New York Mets
2011 2020 Seiichi Uchikawa   Japan 10 SoftBank 1B Central League & Pacific League Batting Leader (2008,2011)
Central League & Pacific League Hitting Leader (2008,2012)
2011 2017 Ayatsugu Yamashita   Japan 7 SoftBank C
2012 2012 Brandon Allen   United States 1 SoftBank 1B
2012 2012 Ángel Castro   Dominican Republic 1 SoftBank P
2012 2012 Terry Doyle   United States 1 SoftBank P
2012 2015 Kazuyuki Hoashi   Japan 4 SoftBank P NPB All-Star Series (2005.2008)
2012 2021 Go Kamamoto   Japan 10 SoftBank OF
2012 2014 Kyohei Kamezawa   Japan 3 SoftBank IF
2012 2023 Shinya Kayama   Japan 12 SoftBank P Currently with Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
2012
& 2012
2014
& 2014
Hideki Okajima   Japan 2 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
MLB Rookie of the Month Award (April 2007)
2012 2013 Wily Mo Peña   Dominican Republic 2 SoftBank OF Former MLB player.
2012 2012 Brad Penny   United States 1 SoftBank P
2012 2012 Renyel Pinto   Venezuela 1 SoftBank P
2012 2012 Levi Romero   Venezuela 1 SoftBank P
2012 2015 Naoki Shirane   Japan 4 SoftBank OF
2013 2014 Shintaro Ejiri   Japan 2 SoftBank P
2013 2018 Ryota Igarashi   Japan 6 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
Central League Saves Leader (2004)
2013 2018 Yuya Iida   Japan 6 SoftBank P
2013 2013 Bryan LaHair   United States 1 SoftBank 1B Former MLB player.
2013 2022 Yusuke Masago   Japan 10 SoftBank OF
2013 2013 Vicente Padilla   Nicaragua 1 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2013 2022 Tomoki Takata   Japan 10 SoftBank IF
2013 2013 Shogo Yamamoto   Japan 1 SoftBank P
2013 2014 Hirofumi Yamanaka   Japan 2 SoftBank P
2013 2018 Yuki Yoshimura   Japan 6 SoftBank OF
2013 2013 Makoto Yoshino   Japan 1 SoftBank P
2014 2016 Bárbaro Cañizares   Cuba 3 SoftBank 1B
2014 2015 Ryo Hidaka   Japan 2 SoftBank P
2014 2015 Takeshi Hosoyamada   Japan 2 SoftBank C
2014 2020 Ren Kajiya   Japan 7 SoftBank P Currently with Hanshin Tigers
2014 2021 Keizo Kawashima   Japan 8 SoftBank IF
2014 2015 Dae-ho Lee   South Korea 2 SoftBank 1B Pacific League RBI Leader (2012)
2014 2023 Yuito Mori   Japan 10 SoftBank P NPB All-Star (2015,2018)
Pacific League Saves leader (2018)
Currently with Yokohama DeNA BayStars.
2014 2019 Kenichi Nakata   Japan 6 SoftBank P
2014 2019 Ken Okamoto   Japan 6 SoftBank P
2014 2021 Dennis Sarfate   United States 8 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
Pacific League Saves Leader (2015, 2016, 2017)
2014 2017 Kaisei Sone   Japan 4 SoftBank IF Currently with Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2014 2018 Shinya Tsuruoka   Japan 5 SoftBank C Pacific League Best Nine Award (2012)
2014 2023 Seiji Uebayashi   Japan 10 SoftBank P NPB All-Star (2017)
Currently with Chunichi Dragons.
2014 2015 Brian Wolfe   United States 2 SoftBank P
2015 2017 Daisuke Matsuzaka   Japan 3 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
Eiji Sawamura Award (2001)
Pacific League The Most Wins Champion (1999–2001)
2015 2020 Rick van den Hurk   Netherlands 6 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
Japan Series Outstanding Player Award (2015)
2016 2018 Kenta Chatani   Japan 3 SoftBank IF Currently with Chiba Lotte Marines
2016 2020 Reiji Kozawa   Japan 5 SoftBank P Currently with Tokyo Yakult Swallows
2016 2022 Kenta Kurose   Japan 7 SoftBank IF
2016 2019 Robert Suárez   Venezuela 4 SoftBank P Central League Saves Leader (2020)
Currently with San Diego Padres
2016 2023 Jumpei Takahashi   Japan 8 SoftBank P
2017 2019 Oscar Colas   Cuba 3 SoftBank OF Currently with Chicago White Sox
2017 2023 Alfredo Despaigne   Cuba 7 SoftBank OF Pacific League Best Nine Award (2017, 2019)
2017 2021 Yuto Furuya   Japan 5 SoftBank P
2017 2023 Ryuhei Kuki   Japan 7 SoftBank C
2017 2019 Hiroki Hasegawa   Japan 3 SoftBank P Currently with Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
2017 2017 Kyle Jensen   United States 1 SoftBank 1B
2017 2022 Seigi Tanaka   Japan 6 SoftBank P Currently with Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
2018 2022 Yurisbel Gracial   Cuba 5 SoftBank 3B Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award. (2019)
2018 2019 Tomoya Ichikawa   Japan 2 SoftBank C
2018 2023 Shu Masuda   Japan 6 SoftBank IF Currently with Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
2018 2020 Ryoma Matsuda   Japan 3 SoftBank P
2018 2019 Ariel Miranda   Cuba 2 SoftBank P Former MLB player.
2018 2020 Tetsuro Nishida   Japan 3 SoftBank SS
2018 2022 Kotaro Otake   Japan 5 SoftBank P Currently with Hanshin Tigers.
2018 2023 Arata Shiino   Japan 6 SoftBank P
2018 2023 Rei Takahashi   Japan 6 SoftBank P NPB All-Star (2019)
Pacific League Rookie of the Year (2019)
Currently with Yomiuri Giants.
2018 2021 Yuta Watanabe   Japan 4 SoftBank P
2019 2023 Keisuke Izumi   Japan 5 SoftBank P Currently with the Yomiuri Giants.
2019 2023 Hiroshi Kaino   Japan 5 SoftBank P Currently with the Saitama Seibu Lions.
2019 2023 Masato Okumura   Japan 5 SoftBank P
2020 2020 Matt Moore   United States 1 SoftBank P MLB All-Star Game (2013)
Currently with Los Angeles Angels.
2020 2021 Wladimir Balentien   Netherlands 2 SoftBank OF Central League home run leader (2011–2013)
Central League Best Nine Award (2012–2013)
2021 2021 Dariel Álvarez   Cuba 1 SoftBank OF Currently with Mariachis de Guadalajara.
2021 2021 Nick Martinez   United States 1 SoftBank P MLB player.
Currently with San Diego Padres
2021 2022 Masahiro Nakatani   Japan 2 SoftBank OF
2022 2022 Ryo Akiyoshi   Japan 1 SoftBank P NPB All-Star Game (2016).
2022 2022 Tyler Chatwood   United States 1 SoftBank P MLB player.
2022 2023 Freddy Galvis   Venezuela 2 SoftBank SS MLB player.
2023 2023 Willians Astudillo   Venezuela 1 SoftBank 3B MLB player.
2023 2023 Joe Gunkel   United States 1 SoftBank P
2023 2023 Courtney Hawkins   United States 1 SoftBank OF

Retired numbers edit

  • none

Honored numbers edit

Sadaharu Oh's 89 was originally planned to be retired or honored after his retirement, but Oh made clear his preference to give the number to his successor. Ultimately, however, the man who replaced him as manager of the Hawks, Akiyama, declined to wear the number on the grounds that the honor of bearing it would be too great so shortly after Oh's departure. Instead, Akiyama wore the number 81.

Managers edit

No. Years
in office
YR Managers G W L T Win% Pacific League
championships
Japan Series
championships
Playoff
berths
1 1938 1 Kazuo Takasu (1st) 40 11 26 3 .296
2 1939 1 Kazuo Takasu (1st)
Hachiro Mimachi (1st)
96 40 50 6 .444
3 1940 1 Kazuo Takasu (2nd) 105 28 71 6 .283
4 1941 1 Hachiro Mimachi (2nd) 84 43 41 0 .512
5 1942 1 Hachiro Mimachi (2nd)
Kisaku Kato (1st)
105 49 56 0 .467
6 1943 1 Tatsuo Takata
Kisaku Kato (2nd)
84 26 56 2 .317
7 1944 1 Kisaku Kato (2nd) 35 11 23 1 .324
8 19461965 20 Kazuto Tsuruoka (1st) 2,646 1,585 990 71 .616 8 times
(1951, 1952, 1953, 1955,
1959, 1961, 1964, 1965)
2 times
(1959, 1964)
9 1965 0 Kazuo Kageyama
10 19661968 3 Kazuto Tsuruoka (2nd) 402 222 168 12 .569 1 (1966)
11 1969 1 Tokuji Iida 130 50 76 4 .397
12 19701977 8 Katsuya Nomura 1,040 513 472 55 .521 1 (1973) 1 (1973)
13 19781980 3 Yoshinori Hirose 390 136 227 27 .375
14 19811982 2 Don Blasingame 260 106 136 18 .438
15 19831985 3 Yoshio Anabuki 390 149 210 31 .415
16 19861989 4 Tadashi Sugiura 520 223 271 26 .451
17 19901992 3 Kōichi Tabuchi 390 151 230 9 .396
18 19931994 2 Rikuo Nemoto 260 114 140 6 .449
19 19952008 14 Sadaharu Oh 1,913 998 877 38 .532 3 times
(1999, 2000, 2003)
2 times
(1999, 2003)
4 times
(2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
20 20092014 6 Koji Akiyama 864 456 368 40 .553 3 times
(2010, 2011, 2014)
2 times
(2011, 2014)
5 times
(2009, 2010, 2011,
2012, 2014)
21 20152021 7 Kimiyasu Kudo 978 558 378 42 .596 3 times
(2015, 2017, 2020)
5 times
(2015, 2017, 2018,
2019, 2020)
6 times
(2015, 2016, 2017,
2018, 2019, 2020)
22 20222023 2 Hiroshi Fujimoto 286 147 134 5 .523 2 times
(2022, 2023)
23 2024–present Hiroki Kokubo
Totals 85 seasons 19 managers 11,018 5,616 5,000 402 .529 19 times 11 times 17 times
  • Statistics current through the end of the 2023 season.[36]

Mascots edit

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have the largest number of mascots in NPB, with a total of twelve active mascots. Nine of them are traditional mascots that are a part of the Hawk Family, with three other miscellaneous traditional mascots. The currently known family members since 1992 are as follows:[37]

  • Harry Hawk – a 23 year old yellow hawk with an orange beak wearing the number 100, Harry supports the team as the main mascot. He is the youngest brother of Homer Hawk, the former main mascot when the team was owned by Daiei. Harry is the only one with a Twitter account.
  • Honey Hawk – an 18 year old pink female hawk. Honey is Harry's girlfriend and the namesake of the Honeys, the Hawks' dancing and cheerleading squad.
  • Herculy Hawk – a 23 year old brown hawk wearing the number 200, Herculy is Harry's teammate as well as his longstanding rival since Hawk University days. Herculy is only seen wearing the team's away jersey, even at home and during special events, such as Hawks Festival or Fight! Kyushu days.[38]
  • Honky Hawk – a 57 year old brown hawk, Honky is Harry's uncle, and the mayor of Hawks Town. He loves baseball and wears a brown fedora.
  • Helen Hawk – a 55 year old female hawk, Helen is Honky's wife. They had eloped during their high school days.
  • Hack Hawk – Harry's 7 year old nephew and the oldest brother of Hock and Rick. Hack wears red-lined T-shirt and the same color cap.
  • Rick Hawk – Harry's 5 year old nephew and middle of Hawk brothers. Rick wears glasses and blue-lined T-shirt and the same color cap.
  • Hock Hawk – Harry's 3 year old nephew and youngest brother of Hack and Rick. Hock wears a green-lined T-shirt and the same color cap.
  • Homer Hawk – The original mascot of the Hawks from 1989 to 2004 and the older brother of the team's current mascot Harry.

The Hawks also had 2 VTuber avatar mascots, named Takamine Umi and Aritaka Hina. Unveiled on November 9, 2020, they have their own YouTube channel as well as their own Twitter profiles.[39][40] They also made appearances on the PayPay Dome's video board. The two were retired in December 2022.

Temporarily in 2020, the Hawks had 10 Spot robots from Boston Dynamics (at the time SoftBank owned Boston Dynamics) and 10 Pepper robots from SoftBank Robotics to replace the fans during a game against the Eagles due to COVID-19 restrictions in NPB games. They were still used when 5,000 fans were allowed in NPB games as fans were still not allowed to sing or use their voices to make noises, only through clapping or cheering batons.[41][42]

The Hawks are the only other team, aside from the Fighters, to have a mascot primarily for their second team, and are the only team with one in the Western League (the Fighters' ni-gun team plays out of the Eastern League), in a chick named Hinamaru. He wears the team's cap, and has an eggshell that looks like a baseball.

The Hawks also have a mascot named Fu-san, who is based on a jet balloon that fans launch during the Lucky 7, prior to when the Hawks are up to bat in the 7th inning.

In 2023, in celebration of the team's 85th anniversary and 30th season in the Fukuoka PayPay Dome, the Hawks introduced their twelfth mascot, Barikata-kun, a half-pig, half-human creature with a retractable hairline and sunglasses, inspired by Fukuoka's famous tonkotsu ramen.

MLB players edit

Retired/Former:

Active:

Note: The Hawks are the only team in NPB to have never posted a player under the current posting system implemented in 1998.[43]

Notes edit

  1. ^ "球団理念" (in Japanese). 福岡ソフトバンクホークス. 2023-01-24. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  2. ^ "会社概要".
  3. ^ "Index by team". NPB. NPB. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  4. ^ "2021年度 福岡PayPayドームの定員について". 公式サイト. 福岡ソフトバンクホークス. 2021-01-29. Retrieved 2023-02-09.
  5. ^ The Richest Sports Team Owners
  6. ^ Coskrey, Jason (November 26, 2020). "Hawks sweep Giants again to clinch fourth straight Japan Series title". The Japan Times. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "福岡ソフトバンクホークス 年度別成績 (1938-2022)".
  8. ^ "Kazuto Tsuruoka," Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Kleinberg, Alexander (December 24, 2001). "Where have you gone, Masanori Murakami?". Major League Baseball. Archived from the original on August 18, 2002. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  10. ^ Stezano, Martin (2021-11-15). "How MLB's First Japanese Player Made it to Big Leagues". History (American TV network). A&E Networks. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
  11. ^ "【4月23日】1988年(昭63) 名物オーナー死去「オレの目の黒いうちはホークスは売らん」". 日めくりプロ野球 (in Japanese). スポーツニッポン新聞社. 2008-04-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
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  18. ^ NEWS, KYODO. "Murakami celebrates youngest Triple Crown with 56th homer". Kyodo News+. Retrieved 2022-12-14.
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