Orix Buffaloes

(Redirected from Orix BlueWave)

The Orix Buffaloes (オリックス・バファローズ, Orikkusu Bafarōzu) are a Nippon Professional Baseball team formed as a result of the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball realignment by the merger of the Orix BlueWave of Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The team plays in the Pacific League and is under ownership by Orix, a leading diversified financial services company founded in Osaka.

Orix Buffaloes
オリックス・バファローズ
Team logo Cap insignia
Information
LeagueNippon Professional Baseball
Pacific League (1950–present)
Japanese Baseball League (1936–1949)
LocationHQ in Nishi-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
BallparkKyocera Dome Osaka
Hotto Motto Field Kobe
FoundedJanuary 23, 1936; 88 years ago (1936-01-23)[1]
PL pennants15 (1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1995, 1996, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Japan Series championships5 (1975, 1976, 1977, 1996, 2022)
Former name(s)
  • Orix BlueWave (1991–2004)
  • Orix Braves (1989–1990)
  • Hankyu Braves (1947–1988)
  • Hankyu Club (1936–1946)
Former ballparks
ColorsNavy Blue, Gold, White
     
MascotBuffalo Bull and Buffalo Bell
Playoff berths10 (1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2008, 2014, 2021, 2022, 2023)
OwnershipYoshihiko Miyauchi
ManagementOrix
ManagerSatoshi Nakajima
Uniforms

The combined team began play in 2005. The Buffaloes split home games between Kyocera Dome Osaka, which was the home of the original Buffaloes franchise, and Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium, the former home of the BlueWave, when the Hanshin Tigers have to use Kyocera Dome. The Tigers' main home stadium, Hanshin Koshien Stadium, is used for the two biggest High School Tournaments in Japan, the Senbatsu in the month of March, coliding with the opening of the Season, and during the Japanese High School Baseball Championship in the month of August.

Through 2022, the club's all-time record is 5,543–5,297–410 (.511).

Franchise history edit

Hankyu/Orix (1936–2004) edit

Hankyu Braves edit

The franchise that eventually became the Orix Buffaloes 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 the Hankyu Braves, it was one of the first professional baseball teams in Japan, and the oldest surviving team in the Pacific League.

In the early 1950s, the franchise made a dedicated effort to attract foreign talent, particularly African-American veterans of Negro league baseball,[2] including infielders John Britton and Larry Raines, and pitchers Jimmy Newberry and Rufus Gaines. These players were the first Americans other than Wally Yonamine to play Nippon Professional Baseball after World War II.

Starting in the mid-1960s, the Braves became one of the dominant teams not only in the Pacific League but in all of Japanese professional baseball. Between 1967 and 1972, the Hankyu Braves won the Pacific League pennant five times but lost the Japan Series each time against the Yomiuri 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, including pitcher Hisashi Yamada and outfielder Yutaka Fukumoto.

In the 1980s, the team still was a strong contender in the Pacific League, but lost the PL pennant to the Seibu Lions every year except 1984; that year, the Braves fell to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Japan Series in seven games.

On October 19, 1988, Hankyu Railway sold the franchise to the lease company Orient Lease (since 1989 known as Orix Group), in what was known as "the longest day of the Pacific League". The reason is that when the franchise sale occurred, the Kintetsu Buffaloes played the legendary "10.19" double-header for the Pacific League pennant, only to miss the pennant out because of the second game ending in a tie. For Kintetsu to win the pennant, they had to win both games in the doubleheader against the Lotte Orions. The sale was a surprise; at that time, it was much rarer for a Japanese professional baseball team to change owners, not to mention for a large company to sell one of its parts. In that case, Hankyu Railway was thought of as one of the big companies that would never need to do such a thing.

The sale was not without two assurances: the team name would remain "Braves", and the franchise would stay in Nishinomiya. During the first two years of new ownership, the team was known as the Orix Braves and played in Nishinomiya.

BlueWave edit

In 1991, the team moved to Kobe and became the Orix BlueWave. Orix put out a poll to decide the new name, and unsurprisingly, people voted Braves. It was said that Orix put out another poll and told fans "Braves" was not allowed. What made it worse was in that second poll, "Thunder" was the winning name, which fit the new color scheme (when Orix bought the team, they changed their colors from black and red to navy blue and gold), and because the team's batting lineup was named Blue Thunder (ブルーサンダー, Burūsandā). But, Orix went with "BlueWave". Longtime fans were shocked by these changes. One member of the Braves' cheering squad (応援団 ouendan) said that "the race was decided before the gun even went off".[3] Another thing that did not make sense to fans was they were named BlueWave while playing in then-named Green Stadium (now Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium) in a city whose official color is green. 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. In 2001, Suzuki moved to the Seattle Mariners and led the Mariners to a 116 win season, the most wins by an American League team.

Orix Buffaloes (2005 to present) edit

Following the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball realignment, the BlueWave merged with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. The team struggled since its merger, only finishing in the top half (or A Class) of the Pacific league once from 2005 to 2013. In 2008, The Buffaloes finished second in the Pacific League, going 75–68–1 and finishing 2+12 games behind the Saitama Seibu Lions, but were swept by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters at home in the first stage of the Climax Series. After two seasons of finishing last in the Pacific League, they finished first in 2021, going 70–55–18. They swept the Chiba Lotte Marines in the final stage of the Climax Series to make their first Japan Series appearance since 1996. Ultimately, they were defeated by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in six games. In 2022, despite a rough start to the season, the Buffaloes finished 1st after a 5–2 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on the final day of the Pacific League regular season, combined with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks losing to the Marines, 5–2, at the same time the game was happening, and also because they had 5 more wins against the Hawks during the regular season, 15–10.[4] The Buffaloes would defeat the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in the Final Stage of the 2022 Pacific League Climax Series, 4 games to 1, which set up a rematch of the previous year's Japan Series, but this time the Buffaloes would exact revenge on the Swallows, defeating them 4 games to 2. In 2023, they swept the Chiba Lotte Marines in the final stage of the Climax Series to make their third Japan Series appearance. But, the Buffaloes were defeated by the Hanshin Tigers in seven games.

Current roster edit

First squad Second squad

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders  


Manager

Coaches

Development Players
Updated May 17, 2024 All NPB rosters


Baseball Hall of Famers edit

Elected mainly for Hankyu Braves service

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

  • Hiromitsu Kadota, DH, 1989–1990 (inducted 2006)
  • Futoshi Nakanishi, Head coach / Hitting coach, 1985–1990†, 1995–1997 (inducted 1999) †For Kintetsu Buffaloes
  • Akira Ōgi, MGR 1988–1992†, 1994–2001, 2005 (inducted 2004)
  • Toshiharu Ueda, MGR, 1974–1978, 1981–1990 (inducted 2003)

Elected mainly for Kintetsu Buffaloes service

Notable former players and managers edit

as Orix Buffaloes

as Orix BlueWave

as Kintetsu (and Osaka Kintetsu) Buffaloes

as Hankyu (and Orix) Braves

MLB players edit

Active:

Former:

Managers edit

No. Years
in office
YR Managers G W L T Win% Pacific League
championships
Japan Series
championships
Playoff
berths
1 1936 1 Daisuke Miyake 48 28 19 1 .596
2 1937 1 Daisuke Miyake,
Minoru Murakami (1st)
105 45 55 5 .445
3 1938 1 Minoru Yamashita 75 42 30 3 .583
4 1939 1 Minoru Yamashita,
Minoru Murakami (2nd)
96 58 36 2 .617
5 1940–1942 3 Toshiharu Inokawa 294 163 119 12 .578
6 1943–1947 4 Masao Nishimura (1st) 343 159 175 9 .476
7 1948–1953 6 Shinji Hamazaki 720 342 357 21 .489
8 19541956 3 Masao Nishimura (2nd) 436 234 194 8 .547
9 19571958 2 Sadayoshi Fujimoto 262 144 106 12 .576
10 1959 1 Sadayoshi Fujimoto,
Katsuki Tokura
134 48 82 4 .369
11 19601962 3 Katsuki Tokura 407 178 219 10 .448
12 19631973 11 Yukio Nishimoto 1,492 792 655 45 .547 5 times
(1967, 1968, 1969,
1971, 1972)
1 (1973)
13 19741978 5 Toshiharu Ueda (1st) 650 363 245 42 .597 4 times
(1975, 1976,
1977, 1978)
3 times
(1975, 1976, 1977)
3 times
(1974, 1975, 1977)
14 19791980 2 Takao Kajimoto 260 133 111 16 .545 1 (1979)
15 19811990 10 Toshiharu Ueda (2nd) 1,300 664 572 64 .537 1 (1984)
16 19911993 3 Shozo Doi 390 195 183 12 .516
17 19942001 8 Akira Ohgi (1st) 1,070 563 481 26 .539 2 (1995, 1996) 1 (1996)
18 2002 1 Hiromichi Ishige 140 50 87 3 .365
19 2003 1 Hiromichi Ishige,
Leon Lee
140 48 88 4 .353
20 2004 1 Haruki Ihara 133 49 82 2 .374
21 2005 1 Akira Ohgi (2nd) 136 62 70 4 .470
22 2006 1 Katsuhiro Nakamura 136 52 81 3 .391
23 2007 1 Terry Collins 144 62 77 5 .446
24 2008 1 Terry Collins,
Daijiro Oishi
144 75 68 1 .524 1 (2008)
25 2009 1 Daijiro Oishi 144 56 86 2 .394
26 20102012 3 Akinobu Okada 432 195 216 21 .474
27 20132015 3 Hiroshi Moriwaki 431 207 215 9 .491 1 (2014)
28 20162018 3 Junichi Fukura 429 185 235 9 .440
29 20192020 3 Norifumi Nishimura 263 106 143 14 .426
30 2021–present 3 Satoshi Nakajima 496 245 210 41 .538 3 (2021, 2022, 2023) 1 (2022) 3 (2021, 2022, 2023)
Totals 86 seasons 24 managers 11,250 5,543 5,297 410 .511 14 times 4 times 9 times
  • Statistics current through the end of the 2023 season.[6]

Theme song edit

The Buffaloes' current theme song is "Sky" by Japanese band Mega Stopper. The song was first used in 2005. Another version that is used is sung by the club's cheerleading squad, BsGirls.

Mascots edit

1981 until 1990
  • Bravey (ブレービー) #100, a large bird
  • Yuta (勇太) #101, a younger bird
  • Braves Boy (ブレーブス坊や), a baseball-headed warrior
1991 until 2010
  • Neppie (ネッピー) #111, a young boy
  • Ripsea (リプシー) #222, a young girl
since 2011
  • Buffalo Bull (バッファローブル) #111, a male hybrid of oryx and buffalo, Bell's brother
  • Buffalo Bell (バッファローベル) #222, a female hybrid of oryx and buffalo, Bull's sister

References edit

  1. ^ "Index by team". NPB. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  2. ^ Zurui, "Negro Leaguers in Japan," Archived 2016-05-03 at the Wayback Machine BlackTokyo (September 12, 2008).
  3. ^ The Orix-Kintetsu Merger – The Story of the 2004 NPB Realignment, archived from the original on 2022-01-31, retrieved 2022-02-24
  4. ^ "【データ】オリックスがソフトバンクと勝率で並ぶも直接対決の差でV(日刊スポーツ)". Yahoo!ニュース (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2022-10-02. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  5. ^ Whiting, Robert (1989). You Gotta Have Wa. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 287–88. ISBN 0-679-72947-X.
  6. ^ "Nippon Professional Baseball オリックス・バファローズ 年度別成績 (1936–2021)". NPB.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on August 19, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.

External links edit