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The Hiroshima Toyo Carp (広島東洋カープ, Hiroshima Tōyō Kāpu) are a professional baseball team based in Hiroshima, Japan. They compete in the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball. The team is primarily owned by the Matsuda family, led by Hajime Matsuda (松田元, Matsuda Hajime), who is a descendant of Mazda founder Jujiro Matsuda. Mazda is the largest single shareholder (34.2%), which is less than the portion owned by the Matsuda family (about 60%). Because of that, Mazda is not considered the owner firm. However, the company connection is highlighted in the club name; until 1984, Mazda's official name was Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. (東洋工業株式会社, Tōyō Kōgyō Kabushiki Gaisha).

Hiroshima Toyo Carp
HiroshimaCarp.png Hiroshima carp insignia.png
Team logo Cap insignia
Information
LeagueNippon Professional Baseball (1950–present)
BallparkMazda Stadium (2009–present)
Year established1950
Nickname(s)Koi (, koi)
Central League pennants9 (1975, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1991, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Japan Series championships3 (1979, 1980, 1984)
Former name(s)
  • Hiroshima Carp (1950–1967)
  • Hiroshima Toyo Carp (1968–present)
Former ballparks
ColorsRed, White
         
Retired numbers3, 8, 15
OwnershipMatsuda family
ManagerKoichi Ogata
(video) Number 18, Kenta Maeda, pitching a ball.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

The Nippon Professional Baseball league was planned to be split into two separate leagues in 1949, and Hiroshima prefecture decided to establish a professional baseball team as part of the reconstruction process after the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The team joined the Central League in December 1949 as the Hiroshima Carp.

The team's first home field was a prefecture-funded stadium, and the team's lack of sponsorship made it extremely difficult to recruit players. Manager Hideichi Ishimoto had to personally scout players just to form a starting lineup. The ragtag team ended up in last place from 1950 to 1951.

The team's lack of funding became an even more serious problem in 1951, and it was proposed[by whom?] that the team be disbanded, or merge with the Taiyo Whales team, which was based in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi at the time. Hiroshima citizens strongly protested against disbanding the team, and raised the money needed to keep the team through donations.

The Central League had seven teams in 1952, making it complicated to form a coherent schedule for each team. Therefore, it was decided that any team that ended the season with a winning percentage below .300 would be disbanded or merged with another team. This agreement may have targeted the Carp, since the team had been in last place every season. The team won only 37 games in 1952, but ended with a .316 winning percentage, saving itself from being disbanded. The Shochiku Robins ended the season in last place with a .288 winning percentage, and was merged with the Taiyo Whales.

The team's financial plight only worsened in the following years, and the team could only issue one uniform per player in 1953. Nevertheless, the team continued to play each season. The team moved to the newly constructed Hiroshima Municipal Stadium in central Hiroshima in July 1957. Finally, in 1960, they ended the season above the .500 mark.

In 1968, the Toyo Kogyo company became the team's chief sponsor, and the company name was inserted to become the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The company was renamed Mazda Motor Corporation in 1984, but the Toyo name remains memorialized in the name of the baseball team. The team ended the season above 3rd place for the first time the year corporate sponsorship started, but fell back into last place from 1972 to 1974.

"Akaheru" golden ageEdit

 
A memorial plaque listing the team's central league championships located next to old Hiroshima Municipal Stadium.

Red became the new team color in 1973, and the team's uniforms were redesigned. The current team uniform still resembles the 1973 design. The team logo was also changed from a letter "H" to a red "C" in imitation of the Cincinnati Reds logo[citation needed].

The team hired its first non-Japanese manager, Joe Lutz, in 1975[1] , becoming the first Japanese professional team to hire a foreign manager. Lutz ordered the team's cap to be changed to red to symbolize a never-ending fighting spirit[citation needed], and he hired Gail Hopkins and Richie Scheinblum. A month into the season, Lutz and the Carp parted ways after a dispute with the front office. Whether he was fired, or quit is not clear.[2] However, the team won its first ever league championship in 1975 to begin a memorable series of seasons.

The Carp team became a powerhouse in 1978, hitting over 200 home runs in one season for the first time in Japanese baseball history. Koji Yamamoto, Sachio Kinugasa, Jim Lyttle and Adrian Garrett formed the powerful Akaheru (literally meaning "Red Helmet") lineup, which won two consecutive pennants and Japan Series from 1979 to 1980. A strong pitching staff led to another Japan Series win in 1984. Manager Takeshi Koba retired in 1985, but the team still won the pennant the following year.

Star player Koji Yamamoto became manager in 1989, and the team won yet another pennant in 1991. However, the team fell into last place in 1993, and Yamamoto resigned from his position.

Dark yearsEdit

After the early 1990s, the Carp did not win a pennant again until 2016. To make matters worse, the Chunichi Dragons won a Japan Series championship in 2007, making the Carp the team furthest removed from a Japan Series championship as well.

 
View from Hiroshima Municipal Stadium on March 14, 2004.

One of the major reasons for the team's recent demise[clarification needed] is the lack of financial support it receives from its sponsors. The team has never signed any free agents, and is often forced to let go of star players because they can no longer pay their salaries (recent examples include Tomoaki Kanemoto, Akira Etoh, Andy Sheets, Nate Minchey, John Bale, Greg LaRocca and Takahiro Arai). The Hiroshima Carp was the last Japanese team to have a non-Japanese player on its roster (excluding Japanese-Americans). Zoilo Versalles, the 1965 American League MVP, was the first non-Japanese player to play for the Carp.

Marty Brown became the manager in 2006, becoming the team's first non-Japanese manager in 31 years (since Joe Lutz). The team set a new record in April, 2006, scoring only 2 runs for the first 9 games of the season[citation needed]. Through still not finishing above third, the team concentrated on developing potential young players. In 2008, even though they were expected to finish last place[by whom?] as both the ace Hiroki Kuroda and slugger Takahiro Arai were gone by free agency, their chance of entering of playoffs was not eliminated until the very end of the season (when only 3 games remained), and they finished fourth, closely following Chunichi Dragons.

Beginning with the 2009 season, the team's home has been the New Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, also known as Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium, in the Minami (South) Ward of Hiroshima.

UniformsEdit

The former uniforms of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp are similar to the Major League Baseball team the Cincinnati Reds[relevant? ]. The original uniforms of the Hiroshima Carp are descendants of the uniforms worn by the University of Chicago's varsity baseball team which toured Japan in 1912 playing against major university teams.[3] One team they played was Chuo University who copied the uniforms including the distinctive "C" logo.[4] Alumni of the Chuo University team were instrumental in founding the Hiroshima Carp.[citation needed]

Mascots and charactersEdit

  • One of the team's two mascot's, "Carp Boya", is seen in the team's logo. Their other mascot, "Slyly", bears a resemblance to the Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies and has been with the team since 1995. Both Slyly and the Phillie Phanatic were designed by Harrison/Erickson,Inc. which has also worked with Sesame Street and Jim Henson. [5]
  • The first Japanese baseball dog "Mickey" was employed between 2005 and 2007. Mickey was a Golden Retriever who wore jersey number 111, and brought new balls to the umpire from the dugout during the game. Mickey died in 2009 at the age of 11. [6]
  • Until 2015, Hiroshima Municipal Stadium was closed every year on August 6 in memorial of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The team always played in other stadiums, even if a home game was scheduled for that day.[citation needed] The team played their first August 6 home game at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in 2015. During the game all Carp players wore the uniform number 86 representing the date of the event 70 years prior, and PEACE on the front to symbolize the city's everlasting goal for world peace.[7]

Carp AcademiesEdit

The Carp was the first Japanese baseball team to establish a baseball academy outside Japan. The team was unable to recruit non-Japanese players from the major leagues due to financial constraints, and the academy was established to cheaply send young players to play in Japan. The Carp Baseball Academy was created in the Dominican Republic in 1990, and Robinson Checo became the first player imported to Japan from the academy in 1995. Checo achieved moderate success in Japan, leading to further imports which include Timo Pérez and Alfonso Soriano.

In 2004, the Carp started a pitching academy in the Guangdong of China, to try "to expand the range of baseball in Asia."[8]

Players of noteEdit

MLB playersEdit

Active:

Retired:

Retired numbersEdit

Honored numbersEdit

History manager of CarpEdit

A view of Historical manager of Hiroshima Carp

Name Nationality Period
Shuichi Ishimoto   Japan 1950–1953
Katsumi Shiraishi   Japan 1953–1960, 1963–1965
Masato Monzen   Japan 1961–1962
Ryohei Hasegawa   Japan 1965–1967
Rikuo Nemoto   Japan 1968–1972
Katsuya Morinaga   Japan 1972, 1974–1975
Joe Lutz   United States 1975
Takeshi Koba   Japan 1975–1985
Junro Anan   Japan 1986–1988
Koji Yamamoto   Japan 1989–1993, 2001–2005
Toshiyuki Mimura   Japan 1994–1998
Mitsuo Tatsukawa   Japan 1999–2000
Marty Leo Brown   United States 2006–2009
Kenjiro Nomura   Japan 2010–2014
Koichi Ogata   Japan 2015–Current

Toyo Carp Farm TeamEdit

The team has a farm team in the lower Western League. Also named Toyo Carp.[9]

The team's ball park, Yuu Baseball Ground is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Iwakuni in Yū, Yamaguchi.[10] Built in 1993, the facility has a large main (seating for 3500) playing field with right and left bleachers (no seating in centre field) and a smaller throwing field next to it.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "People In Sports". The New York Times. New York. 1975-02-05. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  2. ^ Wayne Graczyk (2005-03-13). "Acceptance of foreign managers reflects yet another change in Japanese baseball". The Japan Times. Tokyo. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  3. ^ Stephen Ellsesser. "Century-old rivalry renewed in Japan". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. ^ "chuo university baseball - Bing images". www.bing.com.
  5. ^ "About the Mascot". visithiroshima. Hiroshima Prefecture. 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-14. Blue-green colored SLYLY, dressed in the Carp uniform, was designed by a character production company of Sesame Street.
  6. ^ "Hiroshima Carp's lucky baseball-carrying dog Mickey passes away". 2009-04-15. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  7. ^ Marc Lancaster (2015-08-07). "Hiroshima Toyo Carp remember atomic bomb victims with special uniforms". Sporting News. Hiroshima Prefecture. Retrieved 2019-05-14. Every player on the team wore a uniform bearing number 86
  8. ^ "Hiroshima Carp building baseball academy in China". The Japan Times. Tokyo. 2004-07-21. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  9. ^ a b "Hiroshima Toyo Carp Yū Baseball Training Field - YAMAGUCHI JAPAN TRAVEL GUIDE". www.visit-jy.com.
  10. ^ "大野練習場" [Yuu practice ground]. www.carp.co.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.

External linksEdit