The Hanshin Tigers’ excitement at reaching the top of the Nippon Series for the first time in 38 years was not lost on the United States.
Hanshin defeated the Oryx Buffaloes 7-1 in Game 7 of the 2023 Japan Series (JS-7) at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on May 5, improving to 4-3 in the best-of-five series. It was the franchise’s second Japan Series title in 38 years and its first since 1985, after finishing as runners-up in 2003, 2005, and 2014.
Hailing from the Kansai region, Hanshin is the most popular franchise in Japan after the Yomiuri Giants. In 71 home games at Koshien Stadium this season, the team drew a total attendance of 2,955,288, an average of 41,064. This year, under new manager Akinobu Okada, the team finished first in the Central League (85-35, .616 winning percentage), won its first league title in 18 years in 2005 and went on to win the Japan Series. Okada, who contributed to the 1985 championship as a starting second baseman, became the first Hanshin baseball player to win the Japan Series as both a player and manager.
The Boston Red Sox endured the curse of the Bambino for more than 80 years before winning the World Series in 2004, according to The Athletic, an American sports publication. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, shaking off the curse of the goat after 71 years,” and reported the news of the Hanshin victory.
“Now baseball’s last great curse has been broken. Hanshin defeated the Orix on Friday night to win the Japan Series for the first time in 38 years. It was the second title since Nippon Professional Baseball adopted a two-league system in 1950 and the first since 1985. In 1985, a statue of KFC founder Kernel Sanders was thrown into the Dotonbori River amidst frenzied celebrations in Osaka’s red-light district.
Hanshin fans, who were known for their enthusiasm, took the statue from a KFC outlet and threw it into the Dotonbori River, resembling foreign slugger Randy Barth, who was the star of the championship. It became known as the “Curse of the KFC Sanders,” as the team failed to win a Central League title for 17 years until 2002.
‘The constant disappointment could not dampen the enthusiasm of the Hanshin fans, who are among the most passionate in Japan,’ says Athletic. Even American-born players who wore Hanshin uniforms, including pitcher Randy Messenger, who played in the decade from 2010-2019, said they were happy to see the curse end.
Pitcher Rich Gale, a member of the 1985 Hanshin championship team, recalled the enthusiastic Hanshin fans: “The atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable, and when we arrived at Koshien Stadium at 2:30 p.m. for the 6:20 p.m. game, there were already 25,000 fans chanting our name, holding signs and talking on loudspeakers.” 보스토토 주소
“It was unbelievable,” said outfielder Alonzo Powell, who played six seasons with the Junichi Dragons before signing with Hanshin in 1988. “I played for Junichi for a long time and played against Hanshin, and the fans would throw chicken bones at me when I was playing center field. But when I played for Hanshin, they loved me. They embraced me like I was always there,” he recalled.