Seung-Yeop Lee was a nightmare… Hanshin is thrilled to win the league for the first time in 18 years, the game is not over yet.
- on Sep 15, 2023
Their grudge is not over yet. An emotional moment came 18 years after winning the Central League championship in 2005, but it did not mean their run was over.
The Japanese professional baseball Hanshin Tigers finally reached the top of the Central League. Hanshin won 4-3 in the 2023 Japan Professional Baseball Yomiuri Giants game held at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan on the 14th, widening the gap with second place Hiroshima Toyo Carp to 13 games, and will advance to the Central League regardless of the results of the remaining games. Victory was confirmed.
Hanshin regained the top spot 18 years after winning the Central League championship in 2005 and succeeded in advancing directly to the Climax Series final stage. Now, Hanshin will compete for a ticket to the Japan Series with the winner of the first stage of the Climax Series, where the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the Central League face off.
With the win on this day, Hanshin, which had a season record of 80 wins, 44 losses, and 4 draws while running on 11 consecutive wins, the most this season, was able to confirm the league championship early with 15 games remaining. Just by looking at Hanshin’s season records, you can clearly see that they are a team that ‘dominated’ the Central League this year. We briefly lost first place to Hiroshima in the summer, but that was it. They showed off their powerful power to the extent of being the first in Japanese professional baseball history to achieve nine consecutive wins three times in one season.
Above all, Hanshin’s power can be found on the mound. Hanshin has a team ERA of 2.61 and is the only team in the Central League with a team ERA in the 2-point range. Shoki Murakami, who suddenly emerged as an ‘ace’ this year, can be said to be the leading player. Murakami is performing exceptionally well this season with 10 wins, 5 losses, and an ERA of 1.76. It is also his responsibility to have the 1st place in ERA in the Central League. He is the only player in the league with an earned run average of 1 point. In addition, closing pitcher Suguru Iwazaki is reliably guarding the backfield with 3 wins, 2 losses, 32 saves, and an ERA of 1.38. He is also tied for first place in the Central League’s relief division.
Now, the finale that Hanshin is looking at is winning the Japan Series. Hanshin, founded in 1935, remains the ‘first and last’ team to win the Japan Series in 1985. Hanshin coach Akinobu Okada, who was a winning member at the time, actually had experience leading Hanshin to the Central League championship and advancement to the Japan Series in 2005.
Hanshin dominated the league in 2005 by forming a fearsome winning team called ‘JFK’. ‘JFK’ is a combination of the initials of Jeff Williams, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Tomoyuki Kubota. Here, ‘Iron Man’ Tomoaki Kanemoto led the batting lineup with 40 home runs.
However, Hanshin ultimately failed to win the Japan Series. This is because they failed to win even one game against Chiba Lotte Marines, their opponent in the Japan Series at the time, and lost all four games. In particular, they struggled against Lee Seung-yeop’s cannon in his second season in Japanese professional baseball.먹튀검증
Lee Seung-yeop joined Chiba Lotte in 2004 and did not live up to expectations with a batting average of .240 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs, but he lived up to his name by recording a batting average of .260 with 30 home runs and 82 RBIs in 2005. The stage where he showed off his power at its peak was the Japan Series. In Game 1 of the Japan Series, Seung-yeop Lee hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the team a 5-1 lead. The game was called a cold game in the 7th inning due to thick fog, and ended with a 10-1 win for Chiba Lotte.
Lee Seung-yeop’s cannon exploded in the second game as well. By hitting a dominant 2-run home run in the bottom of the 6th inning, Chiba Lotte widened the score gap to 7-0, causing Hanshin to lose its fighting spirit. The result was a 10-0 win for Chiba Lotte. In the third game, it was as if Chiba Lotte had already won the game, winning 10-1. In the end, that year’s Japan Series ended poorly in Game 4. Seung-yeop Lee gave the team a 2-0 lead by hitting a two-run home run in the top of the second inning of Game 4, and hit a timely double to left-center in the top of the fourth inning, allowing the team to get away with a 3-0 lead.
Chiba Lotte experienced the thrill of winning the Japan Series by winning 3-2 thanks to Lee Seung-yeop’s great performance. Chiba Lotte boasted an overwhelming scoring power of 33-4 in Games 1 to 4 of the Japan Series, earning the honor of winning the Japan Series for the first time in 31 years since 1974. Lee Seung-yeop’s great performance in the Japan Series led him to join the Yomiuri Giants, the most prestigious club in Japanese professional baseball, in 2006 the following year.
It is a scene that literally remains like a nightmare to Hanshin. Hanshin, which returned to the top of the league 18 years after its crushing defeat in the 2005 Japan Series, actually had a chance to achieve its dream of winning the Japan Series in 2014 as well.
At that time, Hanshin did not win the Central League championship, but successfully advanced to the postseason. They advanced to the Japan Series that year and once again knocked out the top spot, but had to be satisfied with second place.
In Hanshin, Oh Seung-hwan, the ‘ultimate leader’, was tightly guarding the back door. Oh Seung-hwan, who had nothing more to achieve on the Korean stage, sought to advance overseas and succeeded in entering the Japanese professional baseball league by joining Hanshin. In his first season in Japanese professional baseball, Seung-Hwan Oh caused a stir by being crowned the Central League relief king by showing outstanding performance with 2 wins, 4 losses, 39 saves, and an ERA of 1.76.
Using Oh Seung-hwan’s successive good pitches as a stepping stone, Hanshin defeated Hiroshima in the first stage of the Climax Series and Yomiuri in the final stage and succeeded in advancing to the Japan Series. Oh Seung-hwan was a ‘guardian’ himself, to the point where he was named MVP of the Central League Climax Series.
However, Hanshin was unable to achieve its dream of winning the Japan Series as it lost 1 win and 4 losses to Softbank Hawks. Oh Seung-hwan also bowed his head after hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th overtime in Game 4 of the Japan Series. Although he attracted attention due to his meeting with Dae-ho Lee, who was at Softbank at the time, the two players did not meet each other.
Like this, Hanshin is a team that has a lot to do with winning. They won the league again for the first time in 18 years, but their fight is not over yet. First of all, it remains to be seen whether they can advance to the Japanese series. Will Hanshin be able to experience the thrill of winning the Japan Series once again for the first time in 38 years since 1985?