Category Archives: History

articles about Japanese baseball history

A Guide to the Road Trip of Death

Every year, the Hanshin Tigers are put out of their main stadium, iconic Hanshin Koshien Stadium outside Osaka, so that high school teams from across the country can put the ballpark to the use for which it was originally intended.

The story goes that when the Tigers hit the road, their pennant hopes die, hence the name, “the Road Trip of Death.”

This raises three questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. How bad is it?
  3. Why is it?

What is it?

Currently, the road trip of death typically starts on the first weekend of August, but the time between the Tigers’ final home game at Koshien and their return has varied over the years. In 1954 and 1955, it started in early July. In 1955, the Tigers were away from Koshien from July 11 to Oct. 9. Usually it’s about three weeks.

During that time, the Tigers will typically play one series of home games at another ballpark, and four series on the road.

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RIP Futoshi Nakanishi

Being off from work yesterday, I missed Thursday’s news that Hall of Fame slugger Futoshi Nakanishi had died on May 11 at the age of 90.

Nakanishi’s career as player and manager was like the opening of a Tale of Two Cities. Before injury

In his first seven years, the Nishitetsu Lions third baseman led the Pacific League in home runs five times, doubles once, runs once, RBIs three times, slugging average five times, on-base percentage once and batting average twice.

His swing was ruined by tendonitis in his left wrist in 1960, and was a shadow of his former self for the remaining 11 seasons of his career.

His growth paralleled that of the Lions under Hall of Fame skipper Osamu Mihara, as they became the Pacific League’s second dynasty and the chief rivals to the Osaka-based Nankai Hawks.

Continue reading RIP Futoshi Nakanishi